The Utah Warriors signed Onehunga Havili – Kaufusi to a multi-year contract. The 26-year-old lock/back row (27 in February) is 6’5″ and 253 lbs
Onehunga was born and raised in Tonga and moved to Auckland after touring with a Tongan Under 14 side to New Zealand. He was recruited to play at Sacred Heart College (class of 2014) in Auckland where he played on the 1st XV in rugby.
He also played for the Auckland Blues Under 18s before moving to Australia to play for Perth’s Future Force Academy, as well as Palmyra Rugby Club, the Perth Spirit in the National Rugby Championship (NRC), and the Western Force Super Rugby team.
He then moved to the United Kingdom to play with the Exeter Chiefs in the English Premiership for two seasons. In 2019, Havili moved to Japan to play for the HITO-Communications Sunwolves, moving to France in 2020 to play for Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne in the French Rugby Pro D2 league. He later played for Queensland Country.
In addition, he played with the Tongan National Team 8 times, making his debut with the team against Japan in Toulouse on 18 November 2017. The last of his eight appearances for Tonga was against Romania at Stadionul Arcul de Triumf as a starter.
Utah Warriors Comments
“I have always wanted to experience playing in Major League Rugby, and when the opportunity came I was excited about it,” said Havili. “Utah specifically has strong Polynesian ties and culture, which is something that I’ve missed as I have traveled for rugby.”
“We are excited to have Hunga joining the Warriors,” said Warriors’ General Manager Brandon Sparks. “He will bring experience and versatility to our forward pack which will make him an exciting addition to our game-day roster. His desire to be a part of the Utah community and his strong character made him an easy signing.”
“I’m going to come to the Warriors and work hard to earn my spot first, then focus on what I can do to contribute to my team and get a win every week,” said Havili. “Also, with this being my first year in the MLR, I have to adapt quickly to the style of play and focus on doing my part in order to help the team win.”
Hunga joins a second-row position group that features second-year Warrior Jamie Lane, 2022 Draft Pick Greg Janowick, new Warrior Jonah Dietenberger and Utah Warriors’ ‘Chief’ Saia Uhila, who re-signed with the team last week.