Fiji-born former Chiefs loose forward Pita Gus Sowakula has shown his interest in being part of New Zealand’s 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign.
After missing out on an All-Black selection since the Ireland series in July, Sowakula, Toka Natua and their one-year-old daughter are off to Clermont, France.
“It was pretty tough at times,” the 28-year-old admits, reports 1news.co.nz.
“Plans have been put in place to go (to France), and we are doing it together.”
“It’s the right time for me and my family to move on from (New Zealand),” Sowakula said.
“It’s just age too, trying to get more opportunities abroad and make the most of it, I’m moving because of my family.”
“Clubs in Japan and France were offering, and we looked at what would work for all of us.Once we found out (Clermont) had a women’s team, I think I took it straight away,” he said.
His 22 Test capped Black Fern partner, Natua also agrees while sharing the same experience.
“The opportunity has been presented, so we are here to make the most of it,” she said.
“That opportunity – for both of us to play at the same club – was too good to turn down.”
Despite the contract being for two years with an optional third year, Sowakula is making it clear he’s still available for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
“The All Blacks is the goal, the dream is still there. My focus for now is just to get back into the Chiefs this season, and play the best rugby I’ve ever played and put my hand up for selection.”
Natua will also be putting her hand back up while she will make her Super Rugby debut for the Blues in Super Rugby Aupiki next year.
“It’s all about self growth,” the 31-year-old said.
“I really just want to be more, do more, and be better, especially after having a baby… I want to show not only my daughter, but my nieces and nephews, that you can always achieve your dreams no matter what, you just have to put in the hard work.”
The Waikato FPC representative is a dual international – she’s also represented the Cook Islands in Rugby League, attending the World Cup in England this year.
“I know he’s a person who will look after me and my family,” she said.
Sowakula has made New Zealand his “second home”, since leaving Fiji and making the switch from basketball in 2016 for a spot in Taranaki’s rugby academy.