Tonga’s Funaki Set to Strengthen Seawolves Forward Pack through 2022
February 19, 2022 (TUKWILA, WASHINGTON) – The Seattle Seawolves have signed former Northland and current Tongan National Team Lock Setefano ‘Fano’ Funaki. The freshly capped and dynamic forward will make his Major League Rugby debut in 2022 with the Seawolves.
“It’s fantastic to add a player of Setefano’s quality to our squad for 2022,” said Seawolves head coach and director of rugby Allen Clarke. “A current Tongan international who can play lock, 6 and 8, he adds considerable quality to our back five. We welcome Setefano to our brotherhood.”
Originally from Tofoa, Tonga, the 29-year-old has grown up playing and being around the game of rugby. His high-performance career began in New Zealand though, playing for Waipu Rugby, as well as Auckland and Bay of Plenty’s development squads. Progress within those programs then landed him a spot on the Northland Rugby High Performance squad, and eventually suited up in their Mitre 10 Cup season in 2018. Funaki made the jump in 2019 to Northland’s side for the Bunnings NPC, New Zealand’s premier domestic competition. The Tonga-New Zealand eligible forward has been playing for Northland’s top side since 2019 and was called into the ‘Ikale Tahi squad for his first cap in Fall of 2021. He faced England and the Barbarians alongside his Tongan teammates in the United Kingdom. Upon his return to New Zealand, he was awarded Northland’s 2021 Development Player of the Year award. The 6’4, 242 lbs. lock and loose forward options adds more professional experience, height, and physicality to the Seawolves for the remainder of the 2022 season. You can watch his highlights here.
“Grateful for the opportunity to play for the Seattle Seawolves 2022, and to do what I love to do,” said Funaki. “The Club has had back-to-back championships and I’m looking to help make it another this year. It’s my first time in America, and I can’t wait explore and learn about the Pacific Northwest. Lastly, thank you to the team and coaches for welcoming me into the squad. I’m looking forward to the season ahead, to learn from everyone, and contribute to the team.
The Seawolves are off to a franchise-best 2-0 start, traveling to San Diego in Week 3. Seattle will face the San Diego Legion (2-0) tomorrow Sunday, February 20 at the San Diego State University Sports Deck. Kickoff is at 2:00 PM PST. Fans tuning in within the United States can watch on ROOT SPORTS and The Rugby Network. International fans can tune in on The Rugby Network. 2022 half-season memberships, as well as group and single-match tickets, are on sale and can be purchased here.
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