The Seattle Seawolves signed Tongan National Team Setefano ‘Fano’ Funaki for the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 29-year-old lock/back row is 6’4″ and 243 lbs.
Fano is originally from Tofoa, Tonga, and began his high-performance career in New Zealand though, playing for Waipu Rugby, Auckland Development and Malaysia Cobra 10s in 2016, and Bay of Plenty’s development squad in 2017. He joined the Northland Rugby Club ahead of their Mitre 10 Cup season in 2018. and debuted for the Taniwha in 2019 in the Mitre 10 Cup. The Tonga-New Zealand eligible forward played 9 matches, starting once, through the 2021 Bunnings National Provincial Championship, New Zealand’s premier domestic competition.
In 2021 he was selected for the ‘Ikale Tahi squad, earning his first cap for Tonga against Scotland in October 2021 and his second on November 6 against England. He faced the French Barbarians the following week on November 13 in the United Kingdom. Upon his return to New Zealand, he was awarded Northland’s 2021 Development Player of the Year award.
Seattle Seawolves Comments
“It’s fantastic to add a player of Setefano’s quality to our squad for 2022,” said Seawolves head coach and director of rugby Allen Clarke. “A current Tongan international who can play lock, 6 and 8, he adds considerable quality to our back five. We welcome Setefano to our brotherhood.”
“Grateful for the opportunity to play for the Seattle Seawolves 2022, and to do what I love to do,” said Funaki. “The Club has had back-to-back championships and I’m looking to help make it another this year. It’s my first time in America, and I can’t wait to explore and learn about the Pacific Northwest. Lastly, thank you to the team and coaches for welcoming me into the squad. I’m looking forward to the season ahead, learning from everyone, and contributing to the team.