The New England Free Jacks signed Tongan International lock and back row Semisi Paea. The 23-year-old (24 in April) is 6’3″ and 255 lbs.
Semisi is from Tofoa, Tonga. He began playing rugby at Rotorua Boys High School and played club rugby Paea with Ngongotaha Rugby Club. In 2021 he played for the New Zealand Barbarians, as well as for the Bay of Plenty Steamers men and Under-19s, where Free Jacks Assistant Coach Mike Rogers was coaching. In 2021, he made his debut for the Tongan national men’s side during a World Cup Qualifier on 24 July against Cook islands and in the Pacific Nations Cup against Samoa and Australia A. In 2022 he also earned his third international test cap against Hong Kong.
New England Free Jacks Comments
“Semisi Paea brings athleticism and power to our back five mixes at the Free Jacks in 2023,” commented Mike Rogers, “Equally at home playing at lock and blindside flanker, Semisi is an excellent aerial player who also brings a high work rate and physicality in his collision work. Semisi has represented Tonga at the test level, Bay of Plenty at the NPC level, and most recently was awarded the most promising player award and World Rugby’s Pacific Combine. We are excited to welcome Semisi to the Free Jacks in 2023!”
“I am very excited for this upcoming season with the New England Free Jacks,” commented Paea. “I can’t wait to meet new people and rub shoulders with all the boys.”
Paea recently impressed at World Rugby’s 2022 Pacific Combine Program, resulting in a development player opportunity arising with Super RugbyMoana Pasifika in December before departing to join the New England Free Jacks
Semisi will add a point of difference in the Free Jacks pack with his aerial and collision game, fans should look forward to seeing this assassin in the North East.