Leicester Tigers sign Tonga Test prop David Feao

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David Feao runs with the ball during his time at La Rochelle in the Top 14

Leicester have announced the signing of Tonga international prop David Feao.

The 27-year-old, who played for his country in Tests against Georgia, Fiji and Samoa earlier this summer, will arrive at Welford Road from French club Narbonne.

“David comes in with some good experience in Europe, and we think he can continue to make good progress here,” Leicester head coach Matt O’Connor told the club’s official website.

“He is a big, powerful man, and we look forward to getting him to work in the build-up to the new season.”

The Tigers, meanwhile, have added Fiji international prop Campese Ma’afu to their squad ahead of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.

Ma’afu, 33, is an injury dispensation signing, with England international Ellis Genge having undergone knee surgery and not expected back in action until early next year.

O’Connor added: “Campese is a very experienced prop with good knowledge of Premiership and European Rugby.

“He comes into a competitive group of front-rowers at the club.”

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England wing Jonny May inspired by chance meeting with US Sprint star English Gardner

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England's Jonny May

Jonny May spent a fortnight of his summer break at the Michael Johnson Performance centre in Texas and was left star-struck by sprint star English Gardner.

May undertook the partly self-funded training camp to improve his speed but also took the opportunity to speak to Gardner, the US athlete and one of the fastest women of all time.

NFL free agents were among those present at the centre, but it was the advice and experience of 26-year-old Olympic relay gold medallist Gardner that most interested May.

The pair endured the same type of knee injury that threatened to have a significant impact on their pace, only to make full recoveries. May, who sustained his knee blow in December 2015, went on to produce the finest Rugby of his career during this year’s June tour of South Africa.

English Gardner (r) and Morolake Akinosun at the Rio Olympics

English Gardner (r) and Morolake Akinosun at the Rio Olympics

“We talked about all sorts. I don’t really get …. ‘wow, it’s that person’,” the England wing said.

“It was awesome for me to meet her because when I did my knee two years ago, the surgeon said it was touch and go whether I’d come back at the same speed.

“People say you lose five per cent after an ACL. I was trawling though the internet to find people who have had the same injury.

“English Gardner blew her knee out just before she went to college. She had scholarships taken away and then within 13 months ran a record time and now she’s one of the fastest women in the world.

“Her dad is her coach as well, so I had a few chats with him. It was nice to meet them and she’s a role model for me. She definitely inspired me.”

May, who has yet to meet four-time Olympic gold medallist Johnson during his two visits to the centre in McKinney, is confident he will continue to improve the speed that identifies him as one of the sport’s fastest players.

“The primary focus of the training was on speed training so lots of agility, plyometrics, acceleration, top-end speed etc,” said May, who also went on a golfing holiday to Spain with George Ford and their respective partners.

“I like the training in Texas. It’s perfect for what I want to do. I had a good couple of weeks there and I’ve come back feeling pretty good.

“America don’t mess around with sports.

“At Pennyhill Park (England’s Surrey training base) you think ‘wow, that’s amazing’, but over there it goes even further.

“It’s awesome training and I enjoy it and always learn something new. I want to get quicker and smarter as a Rugby player as well.

“I’ve gradually been getting better and played the best Rugby I’ve ever played out in South Africa and was running fast as well. I’m committed to being faster. I’ll keep at it and hopefully get faster over time.”

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Pacific Rugby pressure group calls for "Seats At The Table" to end unfair inequality

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Daniel Leo (red scrum cap) in his playing days for Samoa

Pacific Islands campaigners have called for an end to “unfair inequality” at global governing body World Rugby.

Pressure group Pacific Rugby Players Welfare (PRPW) has launched its “Seats At The Table” campaign, to push for greater Pacific Islands representation on the World Rugby Council.

The Pacific Islands nations’ only current influence on the World Rugby Council falls under Oceania Rugby’s two votes of a total 48. That regional umbrella organisation also represents the interests of New Zealand and Australia.

The unions of the All Blacks and the Wallabies also boast three individual votes apiece, leaving Samoa, Tonga and Fiji sharing two council votes with the nine other Oceania Rugby nations.

World Rugby has branded PRPW’s stance “surprising” however, insisting widespread 2015 reform allows any union the chance to earn an individual council vote – already seized upon by Georgia, Romania and the United States.

“We’re massively over-represented in every other area in Rugby, aside from administration,” the chief executive of PRPW Dan Leo told Press Association Sport.

“We’ve got terrific coaches in men like Pat Lam, Tana Umaga, Simon Raiwalui, and a new generation of young coaches coming through quickly as well.

“But then Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have just one per cent combined influence on the World Rugby Council. It’s not right.

“We consider this an unfair inequality in the global game, and we feel that improving the Pacific Islands nations’ representation on the World Rugby Council would prove a major step towards allowing the global game to flourish in precisely the way all the sport’s power brokers actually want.”

Leo and PRPW launched their “Seats At The Table” campaign on Wednesday in a bid to highlight the growing influence of Pacific Islands players across the global game.

More than one fifth of all players at the 2015 Rugby World Cup were of Pacific Islands descent, with 15 per cent representing Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. Some 43 players of Pacific Islands descent represented nine of the 17 competing nations outside that region.

Samoa, Tonga and Fiji have all qualified for the last two World Cups, but do not currently meet World Rugby’s full criteria to command individual council votes.

The game’s global governing body insists that any union already has the ability to earn the right to an individual council vote.

“These comments are surprising, given that there is a clear, transparent and fair pathway for all unions to take a seat on Council under sweeping governance reform launched in 2015 under Bill Beaumont’s leadership,” said a World Rugby spokesman.

“It has successfully incentivised unions and Georgia, Romania and USA have already taken their seat having achieved the criteria, while we continue to work with a number of unions, including the Pacific Islands, to assist them in achieving the necessary criteria to achieve Council status.”

Former Wasps and Samoa lock Leo explained PRPW believes a fairer set-up would centre more around World Cup qualification, in a bid to foster development among emerging nations.

“What makes sense to us is that if you’re in the World Cup you get two votes, if you’re outside the World Cup and you’re a Tier Two or developing nation, you get one vote,” said Leo.

“So that would be up for change every four years, but we consider this a meritocratic, performance-based approach.

“It incentivises strong performances, but would also help smaller nations and unions in becoming the masters of their own destiny. This approach would not just help the Pacific Islands either.”

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