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'He's definitely an x-factor player' - Munster linked with Fekitoa

The former All Black centre was discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

Fekitoa is out of contract with Wasps at the end of the season.
Fekitoa is out of contract with Wasps at the end of the season.
Image: PA

Updated Jan 10th 2022, 9:00 PM

MUNSTER HAVE BEEN strongly linked with a move for former All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa ahead of next season.

The province are in the market for a centre, with Springbok midfielder Damian de Allende expected to leave at the end of the current campaign.

29-year-old Fekitoa is out of contract at Premiership club Wasps at the end of the current season and it’s understood that Munster are interested in signing him, as discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – a podcast available to members of The42 every Monday. 

Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella discussed what Fekitoa, who has switched international allegiance to Tonga and may face Ireland at the 2023 World Cup, would potentially bring to Munster.

Munster have yet to announce who their new boss will be next season, with current head coach Johann van Graan and senior coach Stephen Larkham confirmed to be departing next summer.

Eoin made the point that the identity of the next head coach will be important if Munster were to confirm the addition of Fekitoa.

“He’s definitely an x-factor player, particularly in his prime in a New Zealand context,” said Eoin.

“He was a real top performer in Super Rugby and if they can get the ball to him, he’s definitely going to be able to create space.

“He has really good footwork, strength in contact and has a lovely offloading game. 

“It will just be really interesting who comes in for Munster in terms of how they set up to play and how they would try to leverage a Fekitoa in their team. It’s going to be so interesting because of the joined-up thinking between recruitment and the profile of coach you bring in and how you try to set up a game plan to get the best out of someone like Fekitoa because you’re going to spending a huge amount of euro to bring him into the country.

“You best be sure you’ve got a coach who is going to be able to maximise his potential. 

“Maybe someone like Steve Hansen, who knows him pretty well, might be able to do that!”

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Fekitoa won 24 caps for the All Blacks between 2014 and 2017 under head coach Hansen, who has most recently been working with Toyota Verblitz in Japan.

The likes of Declan Kidney, Mike Prendergast, Milton Haig, and Noel McNamara have all been linked with Munster recently but it remains to be seen who takes over, with current forwards coach Graham Rowntree also said to be in the mix to be the next head coach.

Today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also saw Eoin and Murray breaking down Munster’s 18-13 win over Ulster at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The lads discussed how Munster bounced back from early disruption including a red card for Simon Zebo, the remarkable impact of Tadhg Beirne, an excellent winning try, how Ulster’s tactics failed, and the strength of Munster’s forwards.

They also looked forward to a big weekend of European action for the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup.

You can sign up as a member of The42 in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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