December 13, 2022

Pita Gus Sowakula confirms his future in France

The Chiefs Rugby Club today announced that outstanding loose forward Pita Gus Sowakula will leave the club after the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season to play in France for ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Sowakula had an outstanding 2022 season to help the Gallagher Chiefs to reach the semifinals of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition. His strong performances during Super Rugby Pacific led to his selection for the All Blacks squad for the Steinlager Series. He scored a try on debut against Ireland, contributing to the 42-19 win over the visitors at Eden Park.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said: “It’s always disappointing when you lose a player of Pita Gus’s ability. However, we are fully supportive of his decision. You can't begrudge the man an opportunity to set his family up for the future, especially when he has been an absolute Warrior for this team over the last few years.

“His unique athleticism and physicality have been his point of difference, and I know he will continue to give everything of himself for the Gallagher Chiefs before he and his whānau head to France.”

Fijian-born Sowakula originally pursued a sporting career in basketball before focussing on rugby after he moved to New Zealand in 2016. He made his NPC debut for Taranaki a year later and was voted the Most Promising Player that season.

His continued impressive form in the NPC earned a spot in the Gallagher Chiefs in 2018 where he became a key member of the team.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis said: "Pita Gus has been a great player for both the Gallagher Chiefs and Taranaki. He had a fantastic 2022 season with form that saw him play his way into the All Blacks environment. I expect Pita Gus to have another great season in the Gallagher Chiefs jersey and play his way back into All Blacks contention for the World Cup, before heading to France."

A number of Gallagher Chiefs players have played for Clermont Auvergne over the years including the great Sitiveni Sivivatu, Tim Nanai-Williams, Fritz Lee, Hosea Gear and the late Sione Lauaki, while Jono Gibbes is a former forwards coach at the club.

Sowakula is not looking too much into the future, primed for his final season for the Gallagher Chiefs before heading to France where his partner, former Black Fern and Blues prop, Toka Natua, will also have the chance to play for Clermont's women's team.

"My focus is on the upcoming season with the Gallagher Chiefs. I want to finish the 2023 season on a high note.

“It will be interesting to learn about their style of the game compared to New Zealand. It has been a hard decision to leave this club that has been like family for the last four years but I'm glad Toka and our daughter can join me on this new journey."

Sowakula and his family will travel to France next October at the conclusion of the 2023 Bunnings NPC season, or the Rugby World Cup if he is selected for the All Blacks squad.

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Pita Gus Sowakula confirms his future in France