Mataele leaving Crusaders to join Force in Australia

Crusaders winger Manasa Mataele is leaving the Canterbury franchise to join the Western Force in Australia next season.

Manasa Mataele. Source: Photosport

The Crusaders announced on social media today Mataele, 24, is headed to the Force next season.

“All the best for your move,” the Crusaders said in the post.

Mataele burst on to the rugby scene in 2016 with his debut for the Crusaders and made the most of the opportunities given to him early in his career.

However, serious injuries and the emergence of All Blacks stars such as Sevu Reece, George Bridge and Will Jordan at the Crusaders in recent years has seen Mataele’s time limited at the Crusaders.

Just this season, Mataele featured in only seven of the Crusaders’ 14 matches and only two of them were in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, although he did enough to be selected for Fiji's Test squad and could make a potential debut against the All Blacks this month.

Mataele said earlier this year he enjoyed the competition for spots though.

“I love competing, it makes me a better person and rugby player, there’s no better place to do it,” he said.

“Whatever it is, I’m just willing to get on with it.”

The Western Force finished third in Australia’s Super Rugby competition this season, winning four of their eight games.