Manasa Mataele

Manasa Mataele to return to Canterbury after Super Rugby Pacific

The 24-year-old will return to Christchurch to play for Canterbury in next year’s NPC, after completing his first season of Super Rugby Pacific with the Western Force.

Mataele, who will start on the left wing against Hawke’s Bay in Christchurch on Saturday, signed a two-year deal with the Force in July.

His wife, Martha, also a powerful and speedy wing, will continue to play for Canterbury’s Farah Palmer Cup team.

Fit and Flying: Manasa Mataele ready for Fiji debut

The Suva-born winger was first approached by Fiji ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and then prior to their European tour last year.

But after two years of injury struggles, which included tearing his right ACL and a pectoral tear in 2020, Mataele said he wanted to be back to his best before taking on the challenge.

"For me personally I want to get into the groove of things where I'm playing good rugby, I'm playing rugby on back to back weeks and gaining that confidence back and then get to that international stage," he said.

Manasa Mataele keen to remain at Crusaders despite Fijian Drua's emergence

So, could the Suva-born Crusader play for them after his current contract with the Christchurch-based franchise expires at the end of the year?

Mataele is adamant he wants to remain at the Crusaders for a sixth season, although he realises there’s no guarantee he’s offered another contract, and knows all too well how quickly plans can change after suffering serious knee and pectoral injuries the past two years.