Glasgow Warriors announce signing of Tongan winger Walter Fifita

Scotland Women match versus Japan on 14th November to be shown live on BBC Alba

Walter Fifita in training with the Glasgow Warriors squad this [Tuesday] morning. Image: Craig Watson
Walter Fifita in training with the Glasgow Warriors squad this [Tuesday] morning. Image: Craig Watson

GLASGOW WARRIORS have recruited three-times capped Tongan winger Walter Fifita from New Zealand National Provincial Championship side North Harbour.

The 6ft 5ins, 18½ stone, 24-year-old arrived in Scotland over the weekend and is available for the club with immediate effect. He will compete against Rufus McLean, Kyle Steyn, Sebastian Cancelliere, Ratu Tagive when fit again, and Cole Forbes for game-time.

Fifita was born in New Zealand and qualifies for Tonga through family descent. He made his debut for the country off the bench against New Zealand in Auckland back in July [a 102-0 defeat], then appeared again as a replacement in a World Cup Qualifier against Somoa a fortnight later [37-15 defeat], before scoring a try on his first international start in another Qualifier against the Cook Islands a week after that [54-10 victory].


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“I’m pretty stoked to be sign for Glasgow and start this new chapter in my career,” said Fifita. “I can’t wait to step out onto the field with these guys and I’m really happy.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I want to thank both my agent and Glasgow for presenting me with it. Coming overseas was a big chance for me – I enjoyed my experience of it in the past when I was in Spain [he played the 2018-19 season for El Salvador], and I’m looking forward to making more memories.

“I love to carry the ball and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do on the field.”

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson added: “We’re really excited to be able to bring Walter into our squad.

“He’s a big, abrasive player who we believe can be a real asset to us out wide.

“We’re looking forward to fully integrating him into our environment ahead of the next block of fixtures, and we’re looking forward to seeing him perform in front of a packed out Scotstoun crowd.”

 

BBC ALBA to show Scotland Women v Japan clash

Meanwhile, Scotland Women’s World Cup Qualifier warm-up clash against Japan at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh on Sunday 14th November is to be shown live on BBC ALBA, it has been announced.

The fixture will be the side’s first outing since the recent Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifiers in Parma, where the squad kept their World Cup ambitions alive by finishing second in a four-team pool – ahead of Ireland and Spain and behind Italy – to book their place in a final qualifying tournament which is expected to take place in Dubai in January, also featuring Samoa, Colombia and one of Japan, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong with a chance to go the global get-together next October up for grabs.

Tickets for the Japan match go on sale today [Tuesday]. Click HERE.

Scotland Men’s four Autumn Test matches are being broadcast on Amazon Prime.

 

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About David Barnes 2616 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

27 Comments

  1. Disappointing given that I thought we had turned a corner at Glasgow in recent times under Wilson, by giving good Scots game time rather than NSQ Journeymen.

    A reliable informed source said of the latest recruit “a very average, overrated rugby player who struggled for game time in North Harbour”. Remember that is the 3rd level in NZ.

    When Edinburgh and Glasgow are earning 20% of the SRU’s total income yet are spending 38% of the SRU’s total cost,(The first figure given as a positive in isolation by MD, the second by the SRU in response to the obvious question it posed) if we are to take a “punt” as suggested elsewhere, surely better on a scottish qualified player?

    That way if they fail to make the grade, then there would usually be a continuing return on investment if they drop back down into the Scottish Game and if they succeed potentially another internationalist.

    • I haven’t seen him play so cant comment on his ability. However, i would be wary of dismissively saying he plays in the third tier of NZ rugby. The championship division teams play against the Premier division teams, so are essentially only one level below Super Rugby. Also if we are saying he plays in the third tier, then so do a number of current All Blacks, including the Barrett brothers, Aaron Smith, Milner-Skudder, Jack Goodhue, Nepo Laulala, Dalton Papali’i, Karl Tu’inukuafe.

      Glasgow should be signing more Scottish players. However, i hate the way players are written off before they even step on the field as useless journeymen. If Danny Wilson feels he needs a 6’5, 18st winger to execute his game plan, i doubt he’ll fin one in scotland.

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      • Alastair, I am a big fan of the NPC in NZ, I wish we had it here. Oh to see our best young players tilt their lances with and against internationalists.

        However my point is he struggled to make it. We have a big track record of shipping in players with such a pedigree to Edinburgh and Glasgow who then play hardly any games, and disappear without trace within a season or two, providing little or no value to Scottish Rugby.

        I would love to see details of the money squandered on such players over the years.

        Whereas we are still getting a return on our investment in S6 with the likes of Tom Brown, and many of the ex-sevens players, and The likes of Gordon Reid in the Premiership.

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  2. The pro teams also need to be winning teams. Having teams entirely made up of scottish born and bread players that loose every week, does nothing for player development and nothing for the national team. Winning teams bring in more revenue, and improve players confidence and playing along side some overseas players will improve their skills. Also, both teams need to be qualifying for the Champions Cup, where our players get tested against the best in europe, further preparing them for the national team. Loosing teams dont get to play in that.

    Id love an entirely Scottish Glasgow team, as long as it was a winning team, and i love hearing about young scots getting promoted to the team, but players shouldn’t get in the squad just because they are sottish, they need to be good enough.

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    • I don’t think anyone is asking for completely Scottish E&G teams. It would be unrealistic given international demands.

      I like your straw man though. Scottish players only means we would lose- how so?

      If the goal is to achieve euro cup qualification you indeed have a point. But there is no relegation from URC so some calculated risks can be taken. Bringing non Scot’s qualified clogs up the player channels.

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      • qualification for the HC is a goal. Gets exposure for players to a higher standard and makes them better, and makes money.
        if you are saying there needs to be a balance on how many non SQ players are brought on, I agree 100%. And I would like to see the broad outline of how many and why the teams are allowed to sign them – it shouldn’t be a free for all, and it isn’t. But we don’t know in broad terms what it is

      • Ok i take you straw man point. What i was trying to get at was that picking because they are scottish, and not picking the best available players would result in poorer results. I know a number of the Super 6 players have been training with Glasgow, if Danny Wilson has had a look and thinks he need to bring someone from outside, then i have to trust his judgement on that. Perhaps, having some sort of quota might be in order.

        Currently the Glasgow team consists of 76% Scottish, 6% SQ on residency and 18% non-scots. 18% doesnt seems like a reasonable number to me.

    • Pro coaches aren’t known for their development focus. For them it’s usually win/lose ratio. And I completely get that.

      Therefore other factors need come into play.

      How playing 10 matches or so gives this insight into S6 players is a bit of a mystery.

      • sometimes Dom you make some sense. First 2 sentences are spot on. Then it becomes a different matter.
        We could have more games at a lower standard – and its very clear it was much lower before S6. And he best are also training with the pro teams. Or we could have the district proposal with even less games

  3. Kyle Stein isn’t a small man, so I am not sure that a huge winger is top of the Warriors priority list at the moment.
    If he is also quick and skillful he should be an asset. If not then I don’t what the point of his signing does apart from block the path of a Scottish youngster
    Hopefully he will thrive, otherwise it is cash down the gludgie

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  4. Disappointed to see such opprobrium heaped upon Mr Dodson for this signing. Glasgow fans have enjoyed having quite a few pacific islanders over the years and have turned into much loved players. It’s a professional game and Glasgow need to stay competitive in the league. Let’s give the lad a chance. If he’s good enough, who cares where he’s from?

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  5. Sounds quite a specimen. Hopefully a better rugby player than ‘Big T’ a few years back. Gave us some fun memories, but a bit of a liability in most respects, I know he’s a better player nowadays.

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  6. What’s going on with Josh McKay? Is he still joining Warriors? (NPC season is still ongoing so guess he could be joining after that).

  7. Right now, due to a shortage in that position, Glasgow Warriors could well do with a six foot five inch, 18 stones-plus player from the South Pacific – to play lock.

    They do not need a guy of that size to play on the wing, the club has a sufficiency of SCOTTISH wingers. Once again, Dodson and the Murrayfield Junta are taking the piss when it comes to player recruitment.

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    • Where’s the recruitment from super 6 then…
      I agree with you Dodson is taking the piss in all aspects of Rugby in Scotland
      I rest my case

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    • Where’s the recruitment from super 6 then…
      I agree with you Dodson is taking the piss in all aspects of Rugby in Scotland
      I rest my case

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    • its a punt. If it comes off, great, it it doesn’t, move on.

      There are plenty of wingers? Sure but not that size, its a point of difference. One thing Glasgow lack is a heavy carrier in the backs.

      The obvious options for Glasgow from aligned clubs were Trotter (had been training with them but injured) and Gray (injured), Nairn (just been released as he didn’t make the grade). I’m sure there may be others, but being Scottish is nice, it isn’t a reason to be picked.

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      • To echo some of the comments here, point of difference to any current options. If it doesn’t work, he won’t get much game time and we can move on. But good luck to the big fella

        I know it’s not popular, but the club have to have the liberty to run it as a professional outfit, and like other pro teams in Europe, if this solves a problem by bringing in a player they think is already operating at the required level, then so be it. Of course we would like to see more Scots get chances, but we shouldn’t object just because we sign a non scot. I could imagine the first question that is asked in recruitment is whether there are any Scottish qualified options

        The Dodson comments are way off the mark. He’s the chief exec, I don’t think he gives a toss about the signing of a squad player winger. He clearly wants success from both teams and is happy to endorse moves like this if the coaches feel its the right option. I would be really worried for our game if he didn’t have bigger fish to fry

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      • You obviously haven’t been paying attention Ally. Mr Dodson does an inordinate amount of time on the pro teams.

        You seem to also be confusing what Edinburgh and Glasgow are here for. Primarily to develop players for Scotland. Sure we need a mix of players to ensure there is suitable cover for international breaks.

        Sure let them be run as truly independent professional outfits. That will make Scottish Rugby £13 million better off every year. Then we can see the extent of how professional the two teams will be.

      • I’d like both teams to have a bit more independence than they have now. I’d like to see published the limitations and rules imposed by Murrayfield with that greater freedom (TBH I’d like to see those now!)
        But the idea that making them fully independent would save £13m is fantasy, economic illiteracy. No professional rugby team anywhere in the world exists without Union subsidy or payment, however you want to describe it. None. either as a straight sum or player compensation for release for international matches and training camps.
        So that money, to some extent would remain going to pro teams. And competition money from league and Heinekin/Challenge cups would then go to clubs, not to the SRU (to dish out as part of their pro team “subsidy”), thus reducing SRU income

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