Powerful young Auckland prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi will continue to play for the Blues for a further two years.
The 23 year old, who has played in every game this Super Rugby season, joins a powerhouse group of forwards already committed to the Blues next year. They are led by All Blacks Jerome Kaino, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Patrick Tuipulotu and Stephen Luatua and New Zealand Under-20s stars Akira Ioane and Blake Gibson.
Tu’ungafasi has been part of the Auckland and Blues development system, playing for New Zealand Schools, New Zealand Under-17 and Under-20 teams. The 1.95cm, 125kg prop now has 28 caps to his credit for the Blues.
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said Tu’ungafasi is developing into an outstanding prop and excellent contributor.
ìOfa is an outstanding young man who has been developing well through our system, and learning from some world class front rowers in our club,î said Kirwan.
ìThis year he has stepped up to start in six games and he has a huge future with our club and in the game as a prop with allround skills.î
Tu’ungafasi is pleased to have signed for a further three years with the Blues, a team that is close to his heart.
ìOur family live here, I have played all my rugby here and I love playing for the Blues,î he said. ìI’ve had some great players around me to help me and had support from the coaches.
ìWe have not had the results we wanted this year but throughout it all the whole team has stayed tight, we work hard and we enjoy what we do. This is where I want to play.î
Tu’ungafasi may be around for some years to come, because he harbours a dream that all six of his brothers will be able to play together in the future.
Younger brother Isi Tu’ungafasi has been an apprentice at the Blues this season, and is playing for New Zealand at the Junior World Cup in Italy, while the rest are lining up behind, playing for their school and the Grammar Carlton club.
Ironically Tu’ungafasi will miss Friday’s final Super Rugby match, his first of the season, after not recovering from a head knock suffered last week.