New women’s signing Feaunati heads back to her second home
Exeter Chiefs Women have signed New Zealander Maddie Fe’aunati to add extra talent to the pack.
The daughter of Samoan international and Bath No 8 Issac ‘Zac’ Fe’aunati has joined Chiefs from FPC side Wellington Pride. The back-row has also played in the Super Rugby Aupiki competition for Hurricanes Poua, is a handy netball player, and attended St Mary’s College, which has produced several Black Ferns.
Ever on the lookout for a player who would flourish amid the Exeter Chiefs culture, head coach Susie Appleby had noted Fe’aunati’s British passport and got in touch with her. An open conversation quickly led to a contract offer and a plane ticket to the UK.
Born in this country, Fe’aunati arrived 10 days ago and is excited back to be back on British soil...her second home.
She said: “I always wanted to come back to England. When Susie contacted me, it felt like a sign and an opportunity to come and get some experience in a place I would call home.
“It’s an opportunity to grow my game and learn under a different structure and make some good connections with new people.”
Usually a flanker, Fe’aunati is happy playing at No 8 too, like her father, who is also known for playing Jonah Lomu in the film Invictus.
Fe’aunati added: “My dad has taught me a lot. He advises me on details that I would not pick up. He was coaching until last year; now he’s basically coach to me and my three sisters!”
She has already had a taste of match-day life having warmed up with the squad ahead of last weekend’s win over Sale Sharks Women.
If involved in this weekend’s action, Fe’aunati will be hoping for the protection of her ancestors, which is the theme running through her tattoo on her left thigh.
She said: “It helps me remember where I come from and who I am representing.”