Lalakai Foketi inks new deal with Australian Rugby

Wed, Mar 30, 2022, 7:00 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Lalakai Foketi has re-signed with Australian Rugby until the end of 2024. Photo: Getty Images
Lalakai Foketi has re-signed with Australian Rugby until the end of 2024. Photo: Getty Images

Rugby Australia are pleased to announce New South Wales and Wallabies centre Lalakai Foketi has re-signed until the end of 2024.

Foketi, 27, had a breakout season last year, earning a call-up to the national squad for the first time which culminated in his international debut against Wales in the Wallabies’ final Test of 2021.

Growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Foketi originally made his Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific debut for the Melbourne Rebels in 2014, before stints for Bay of Plenty in the NPC and Bayonne in France.

A former Australia Under 20s representative, Foketi returned to Sydney at the end of 2017, making his debut for the Waratahs in 2018 and has since gone on to become a mainstay within their match-day squad.

Foketi is set to play his 50th Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific match for the Waratahs on Friday night against the Fijian Drua on the Gold Coast.

Wallabies and NSW Waratahs centre Lalakai Foketi said: "My family's happy here and settled and I’m loving playing at the Waratahs, so deciding to extend my time here for another two years was a no brainer."

“It’s an extremely tight-knit group at the Waratahs and there is a real sense of excitement about what this team can achieve, and I want to play a part in putting this great club back on top.

“I think scratching the surface of international Rugby at the end of last year made me incredibly motivated to stay in Australia and to continue to push for higher honours, especially with a World Cup next year.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to extend my time with the Waratahs and the Wallabies.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: "La is a quality man who adds a lot to our mob on and off the field."

"He's had a unique journey to the Wallaby jersey and we saw how much it meant to him and our squad when he was selected for his debut in Wales last year.

"His quality distribution and footwork are a genuine point of difference but it’s his diligence to develop all parts of his game that has impressed us."

NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman said: “Lalakai is a really likeable, super humble, popular member of the team who genuinely cares about his teammates, which is hugely important."

“He was a little late on the Super Rugby scene and had to bounce around the world before he got his gig here and his dedication and focus have seen him get the call up with the Wallabies.

“Lalakai is an ultimate all-rounder, he can ball play, he can carry and he’s really strong defensively and he’s now at a point where he's one of the most dangerous strike centres in the league and we’re glad he’s staying.”

Lalakai Foketi

Position: Inside/Outside Centre

Height: 185cm

Weight: 99kg

Born: 22 December, 1994

Place of birth: Hamilton, New Zealand

Super Rugby debut: 2014 v NSW Waratahs, Melbourne (Melbourne Rebels)

Super Rugby caps: 49 (NSW Waratahs) 2 (Melbourne Rebels)

Test debut: 2021 v Wales, Cardiff

Test caps: 1