The Houston SaberCats signed Simi Moala for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 31-year-old center (32 in June) is 6’2″ and 230 lbs.
Simi played 44 minutes in 3 matches, starting once, for Old Glory DC in 2022. He then played for Rugby HTX, the Houston SaberCats Academy team in the American Rugby Premiership.
In 2021, Simi appeared in four matches 2021, playing 63 minutes, and had 12 strong ball carries over 147 meters, with 12 tackle breaks, and two line breaks.
Simi is from Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga, and attended Saineha High School where he played rugby and was on the track team. He also played club rugby while in Tonga.
Simi played football in 2015 at Lackawanna College and rugby with Wilkes-Barre Breakers for a season that Spring. He also played rugby with Schuylkill River in 2015 and 2016. From 2015-2020 he attended Southern Virginia University where he continued playing football in the Fall and rugby in the Spring with Washington & Lee for three years, as SVU didn’t have a team. Simi was honored in 2018 as an NSCRO Men’s All-American.
During Simi’s senior year at Southern Virginia University, the school began a rugby program and he played with the club that year.
Southern Virginia University‘s Moala, a math major from Tonga, explained how he wanted to become an engineer since he was a young boy. After completing his associate’s degree, interning at NASA, and playing for the U.S. national rugby team for four years, Moala chose to attend Southern Virginia to finish his bachelor’s degree. He is the first member of his entire extended family to attend college. After graduating he will attend the University of Virginia’s engineering graduate program.
“Southern Virginia was an answer to my prayers and has helped me refocus on [the schooling]I had started,” said Moala. “It allowed me to practice, live and share my culture and see my full potential. I learned here to never give up. I am grateful for my professors, the staff members, and especially for the career center who have helped me every step of the way.”