The Crusaders can confirm Sioni Havili Talitui has signed a two year deal with Moana Pasifika, the Auckland-based Super Rugby franchise.
Talitui joined the Crusaders as a loose forward in 2020 and started in 20 of his 35 appearances for the franchise. Most recently he started as blindside flanker in the Crusaders successful defending of the Super Rugby Pacific title. Talitui and the Crusaders beat the Chiefs in Hamilton on 24 June to win a seventh consecutive title for the franchise.
The 25 year old scored six tries during his time in the red and black and played 12 games in a huge ’23 season, partly due to injuries across the pack.
He earned seven caps for Tonga, and will take the field at the Rugby World Cup in September. They face Ireland, currently ranked #1 in the world, on 17 September at Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes.
Talitui said he was “truly grateful for what this club has done for me over the past four years”.
“I have enjoyed my time here and will forever cherish the friendships and relationships I have gained,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to moving north to be closer to our family. Ofa lahi atu.”
Scott Robertson, Crusaders Head Coach, said Talitui brought “a tough physical edge on the field, complemented by incredible work ethic off the field”.
“His attention to detail and execution was a massive reason for his and our success.
“We will miss him. Mālō.”