The 31-year old joins the Westerners from French side Grenoble where he earned 65 appearances in four seasons with the club. The 6’5, 116kg lock previously represented New Zealand side Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Fifita started in all four games in the country’s 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign and has earned 19 caps to date.
Fifita will re-unite with incoming Connacht Forwards Coach Dewald Senekal, his head coach at the Grenoble for two seasons. Fifita will help fill the void left by departing Ireland international Quinn Roux, who earlier this year announced he was leaving Connacht and Ireland.
“In Leva Fifita we have been able to identify all the attributes we were looking for in a new lock,” said Head Coach Andy Friend says. “He is a tall, strong athlete who will complement our existing second rowers, and also brings with him a good deal of experience at club and international level. We’re really pleased he has decided to join us and I know he will fit in nicely with the squad”.
Leva Fifita said he looked forward to joinging up with the Galway based PRO14 side: “I’m very excited to be joining Connacht Rugby. I know Dewald very well from my time in Grenoble and after chatting to Andy Friend I believe this is the right step to make in my career. I’m looking forward to moving to the West of Ireland and play my part in helping the team succeed into the future.”
Photo file Tongan international Leva Fifita