The Glendale Raptors re-signed Kelepi Fifita for the 2020 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-old tighthead prop is 6’1″ and 255 lbs.
The 2020 MLR season will be his third season with the Raptors. In 2019 he played 627 minutes in 14 games. He carried the ball 57 times for 294 meters, made 85 tackles, had 1 lineout take, and made 1 offload.
Kelepi is from Phoenix, Arizona and attended Central High School. He was a four-year Varsity football player and achieved both First and Second Team All-State honors, was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and MVP, and a three-time All-Section Defensive and Offensive lineman. He also played for Arizona against the SoCal All-Stars. While in high school, he began to play rugby for Tempe Rugby Club in 2009.
Following his graduation from Central, he attended Northern Arizona University and after a redshirt 2014 season, he played football through 2016. Kelepi has attended NAU from 2014-2018, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Sciences. He also attended the W.A. Franke College of Business while there.
In 2017 he began to play with the Glendale Merlins and signed with the Glendale Raptors for the 2018 and again for the 2019 season.
The MLR exposure put him on the radar of the National team and he was selected to play for the USA Selects in the 2018 Americas Pacific Challenge.
Good tighthead props are at a premium and Kelepi is developing into an excellent one. He is a key player for Glendale in the front row and has helped the team become one of the best teams in the League in set pieces.