June 30, 2021

Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Samipeni Finau commit to the Gallagher Chiefs

Gallagher Chiefs lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi and loose forward Samipeni Finau have both signed new deals with the Chiefs Rugby Club.

21-year-old Ah Kuoi has extended his contract a further two years while Waikato loose forward Finau has signed with the Gallagher Chiefs through to 2024.

Ah Kuoi debuted for the Gallagher Chiefs against the Blues in 2020 in his first season of Super Rugby. The athletic and charismatic lock has since made 20 appearances in the Gallagher Chiefs jersey and has a promising future ahead of him.

Ah Kuoi said: “I love this Club, from the people to the fans it is an amazing Club and region. I am honoured to have the privilege of representing both. It has provided me with the opportunity to pursue my dream of being a professional rugby player.”

“Not only have I been supported on the field in the development of my game, the Gallagher Chiefs have always supported me and my new family which we are exceptionally grateful for. I hope I can continue to proudly represent the Gallagher Chiefs jersey both on and off the field for the next two years,” said Ah Kuoi.

22-year-old Finau debuted for the Gallagher Chiefs this year against the Highlanders after being called in as a replacement player. The versatile loose forward/lock will enter the 2022 season with six Gallagher Chiefs caps to his name.

Finau said: “It was an easy decision for me to sign with the Gallagher Chiefs because this is where I’ve always wanted to be. This is the team I’ve always dreamt of playing for and it feels like home to me. It’s more than just a team, it is a family.”

“This environment has brought out the best version of myself on and off the field and I have loved every moment of being here. Everyone gets along and brings the best out of each other, and I am looking forward to the journey continuing,” said Finau.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said: “It is great for the Chiefs to secure the services of Naitoa and Samipeni. They are highly skilled players with bright futures, having already demonstrated an ability to impose themselves on games over the last few seasons. They are only going to get better with experience, and I have no doubt they are going to be significant contributors to our environment both on and off the field.”

“Samipeni joined us during pre-season as an injury replacement. He is an explosive athlete with an innate ability to carry with ball in hand. He has been impressive for us this year and we are pleased to have him onboard for a further three years,” said McMillan.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Michael Collins said: “Both Naitoa and Samipeni have been strong contributors for the Gallagher Chiefs this season and have continued to take their game to the next level. We are looking forward to seeing them establish themselves in the Gallagher Chiefs squad.”

Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Samipeni Finau commit to the Gallagher Chiefs