Malakai Fekitoa’s Tonga Appeal fundraising nears USD 81k


 Family members and supporters of the Wasps rugby team held a bucket collection during the team’s match against Saracens last night, to support the appeal and managed to raise more than USD2k.


The bucket collection was led by team mate Jacob Umaga and his partner Elisha.

Fekitoa was amazed at the support he received from the public towards the appeal for his people in Tonga.

Wasps make grand gesture in support of Fekitoa's Tongan disaster fund

Because communications have been severely disrupted, it has been difficult to determine the extent of the devastation. However, pleas for immediate assistance have been made, with food and clean drinking water at the top of the priority list.

Centre Malakai Fekitoa has launched the fundraiser and in support of his efforts, Wasps have vowed to to donate 20 per cent of all match ticket revenue from their upcoming Gallagher Premiership match vs Saracens on Sunday 30 January to the cause.

Leaders finally beaten after 11 straight wins

Tigers, who had won 11 games on the spin, led 13-7 after Julian Montoya's try and two George Ford penalties despite conceding an early penalty try.

However, Wasps showed much more adventure after the break and Jimmy Gopperth's boot edged them ahead.

With time ticking down, Tigers mounted a late surge, but the hosts stood firm.

Steve Borthwick's Tigers turned up at the CBS Arena knowing a win would merit a 16th in all competitions this season, equalling a club record set in 1983-84.

Wasps confirm extent of Fekitoa injury and it's bad news for Tonga

Four days on from that 41st-minute exit, Wasps boss Lee Blackett confirmed the grim prognosis for Fekitoa who had qualified to switch his international rugby allegiance to Tonga by playing in last June’s Olympic sevens qualifying event in Monaco.

Blackett explained at a club media briefing: “Malakai has dislocated his shoulder and will need surgery. It will be months rather than weeks and he will be out for a significant time. 

Wasps sign All Blacks forward Vaea Fifita

The 29-year-old lock or flanker has 11 caps and is moving to the Premiership from the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Tonga-born Fifita, who is 6ft 5ins (196cm) tall, has won the Super Rugby title with Hurricanes and has also played for the Wellington Lions.

"I am proud to be joining one of the most historic rugby clubs in the world on what promises to be a very exciting journey," Fifita said.

Head coach Lee Blackett said signing an experienced international like Fifita was "exciting".

French media claim Sopoaga's Wasps exit a done deal

And according to a report by RMC Sport, the fly-half is set to join Top14 side Lyon next season. Lyon have been in the market for a new no 10, and had been linked with Marcus Smith before he agreed a new deal with Harlequins, as well as Munster’s JJ Hanrahan.

However RMC claim Sopoaga, who has also been linked to the Stormers in South Africa, has always been Lyon’s top target.

Malakai Fekitoa has shared a picture to gladden the hearts of all Wasps fans

The 28-year-old was enjoying an impressive 2019/20 debut season at the Ricoh Arena, guiding Wasps to a home Premiership semi-final against Bristol.

However, he only managed a few minutes of that match as he was forced off with a groin injury after scoring the opening try. Although Wasps went on to win, the injury ruled him out of the final and it was decided that the 24-cap All Black should use the layoff to also undergo surgery to address a shoulder problem. 

Lima Sopoaga signing labelled 'clumsy mistake' by top UK pundit

Sopoaga, 28, left New Zealand in 2017, signing a two-year deal with Wasps for a reported $1.1m per season.

However, Sopoaga's arrival in England has not gone to plan, rated as the Premierships "worst signing" after his first season.

Now into his second year with Wasps, Sopoaga's woes have continued, left out of their match day 23 altogether as his side fell 35-31 to Northampton.

Rookie and former England youth representative, not to mention nephew of All Black Tana, Jacob Umaga took the number 10 jersey, while 36-year-old Jimmy Gopperth was in reserve.

Malakai Fekitoa set to move from Toulon to Wasps and forego another shot at All Blacks

The shift across the English Channel would see the former Highlanders star link up with his old mate Lima Sopoaga who is having a difficult first season at Wasps.

The Times reported on Wednesday (NZT) that an official announcement on Fekitoa's move was expected "in the next few days". It would be a welcomed signing for a proud Wasps club about to lose some significant talent in the form of England test No 8 Nathan Hughes, Springboks fullback Willie le Roux, highly regarded tighthead prop Jake Cooper-Woolley, and probably England outside back Elliot Daly.

Jimmy Gopperth staying at Wasps

The 35 year old, who joined Wasps, is one of five players to have signed new, undisclosed-length contracts.

Gopperth, who left New Zealand in 2009, was initially ruled out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury in August.

But he is now expected to make it back before the season ends in May.

Wasps are fourth in the Premiership table following last weekend's 24-14 loss at home to Bath.