NZ Rugby World - - The Breakdown -

SPEC­U­LA­TION CON­TIN­UES to grow that Highlanders mid­fielder Malakai Fek­i­toa will be head­ing to French club Toulon next year.

Fek­i­toa, 25, is o con­tract at the end of the year and has been tar­geted by a num­ber of o shore clubs, with Toulon the favourites to snare him should he de­cide to leave New Zealand.

While spec­u­la­tion is strong, Fek­i­toa has given no in­di­ca­tion as to his in­ten­tions. Hav­ing been a reg­u­lar All Black since 2014, he missed se­lec­tion for the squad to play the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Li­ons.

In­stead, the All Blacks brought in Ngani Laumape, along­side Sonny Bill Wil­liams, Ryan Crotty and An­ton Lienert-Brown.

Crusaders cen­tre Jack Good­hue was drafted in as cover for Crotty, sug­gest­ing Fek­i­toa was a long way back in the peck­ing order.

But af­ter Wil­liams was sus­pended fol­low­ing his red card in the sec­ond test against the Li­ons and Crotty still hadn’t re­cov­ered, Fek­i­toa was called up.

It was just reward af­ter he had per­formed pow­er­fully for the Highlanders against the Li­ons ear­lier in the tour. When he ar­rived back in the squad, his Highlanders team­mate, Aaron Smith, said of Fek­i­toa:

“In the Highlanders we have a way we like to use him and he’s very good on our D and a good ball car­rier for us.

“It is good to see him play­ing good rugby again, but then I think he has been go­ing good all year.

“He is a real phys­i­cal player and that suits his game, he’s re­ally con­fronta­tional and he has a take noth­ing at­ti­tude. He’ll go hard and also if he gets the op­por­tu­nity there is a bit of a chip on his shoul­der and maybe a bit of a no fear at­ti­tude coming in.

“He knows what he has to do, but just see­ing him around, he’s re­ally happy to be here.”

Fek­i­toa is ex­pected to con­firm his plans in the next few months.

MAN IN DE­MAND Malakai Fek­i­toa will have to de­cide soon whether he is head­ing to France or stay­ing in New Zealand. Smashed em bro!

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