Pita Gus Sowakula

One door shuts, another opens for Sowakula

This will be the talented rugby couple’s last summer in New Zealand, leaving for France late next year, after the conclusion of the NPC and FPC seasons.

The past few months have been hard for the family, with Sowakula missing out on national selection.

“It was pretty tough at times,” the 28-year-old admits. “Plans have been put in place to go (to France), and we are doing it together.”

His 22 Test capped Black Fern partner, Natua, agrees.

“The opportunity has been presented, so we are here to make the most of it,” she said.

'None of this is his fault': All Black casualty Pita Gus Sowakula looking outside-in

The Chiefs No 8, renown for his strong ball-carrying, featured off the bench in the first two tests seeing limited action as one of the loose forward reserves.

In the first test he dropped his first pass at test level before recovering to score a try on debut with his next touch, breaking off the back of a five metre scrum to power through Irish flyhalf Joey Carbery.

Sowakula dropped from All Blacks

Sowakula, who made his debut in the series loss against Ireland, is replaced in the loose forwards by Shannon Frizell.

George Bower, Hoskins Sotutu and Sevu Reece are the Fijians named in the squad with Sam Cane retaining the captaincy.

The side plays South Africa in its opening match on August 7 at 3.05am.


Highlanders told by referees that Pita Gus Sowakula's try was illegal

That’s the verdict reached by New Zealand Rugby’s [NZR’s] referees, who have informed Highlanders head coach Tony Brown that the try was an illegal act that should have been classified as dangerous play.

Brown confirmed on Wednesday that the try, which saw Sowakula hurdle Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith to score in the left-hand corner, was now deemed by NZR as illegal after confusion reigned over whether the try should have been awarded.