Tonga forward Funaki to join Dragons

Solomone Funaki
Back row Solomone Funaki has won 15 caps for Tonga [Getty Images]

Tonga back row Solomone Funaki will join Dragons this summer.

The 30-year-old, whose length of contract has not been revealed, will make the move to Rodney Parade from Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby.

Funaki was part of the Tonga squad at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and has made 15 appearances for his country.

“He’s a tough and uncompromising man, someone who always wins collisions, and his ability to play across the back row will mean other players can thrive around him," Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan said.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people who know and have played alongside Solomone and they have nothing but praise for him as both a person and performer."

Funaki has played club rugby for Hawke’s Bay Magpies since 2018 and was part of the Hurricanes set-up in 2021 before moving to Moana Pasifika.

He wrote history by scoring Moana Pasifika’s first-ever try in their inaugural Super Rugby game against Crusaders.

An outstanding 2023 campaign saw him captain Moana Pasifika and claim the honour of ‘Moana Man of the Year’ – the club’s top award.

Funaki made his Test debut for Tonga in 2021 against New Zealand and featured in the 2022 Pacific Nations Cup and 2023 Rugby World Cup

Funaki said: “I’m delighted to officially be named as a Dragon. Having spoken to Dai earlier in the year about his focus for next season, I am excited to be a part of his team and test myself in the URC (United Rugby Championship) and play in front of the passionate fans at Rodney Parade.

“Special mention to the Moana Pasifika and Hawke’s Bay Magpies for the past few years, I have enjoyed every minute of it."