The Dallas Jackals signed Kelepi Fifita for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-old prop (25 in August) is 6’1″ and 255 lbs.
The 2020 MLR season was his third season with the Raptors and he started twice and was a reserve for the other three matches. 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.
Dallas Jackals Comments
Kelepi is excited to be on a new team in the league because “it will push me even more since we have more to prove.” He is also excited to create new bonds with new teammates. The move to Texas for Kelepi means getting to see family that he hasn’t gotten to see in a while. He says, “it will be good to have them come to games and see them afterward.” Welcome to the pack Kelepi!