London Irish centre, Seilala Mapusua, will leave the club at the end of the current season it was announced today. The 30-year-old Samoan will depart after five seasons at the Exiles since he joined the club in 2006 from Otago and the Highlanders in New Zealand, to play for Japanese Top League side, Kubota Spears, in the summer.
London Irish head coach, Toby Booth said: “We would like to thank Seilala for all of the hard work and effort he has put in during his time with us and wish him and his family all the best for the future. He has been a tremendous, committed servant to our club, an outstanding professional and an inspiration for any player on the field. Seilala is at a stage in his career where he needs to be thinking about his next steps and the future and we completely respect that.”
Booth added: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed that Seilala will not be with us next season, his departure does however bring opportunities to other London Irish players and to the club in terms of recruiting new talent.”
Seilala has been involved in some memorable games at London Irish, including a Premiership final against Leicester and a Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse. He has made 111 appearances for London Irish in all competitions, scoring 17 tries. At the end of the 2006/07 season he was awarded Best Newcomer at the club’s annual awards and received both the London Irish Players’ Player of the Season and the RPA Players’ Player of the Season awards in 2008/09.
Seilala had this to say on his time at London Irish: “I will be sad to leave London Irish, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have made a lot of friends on and off the field. I would like to thank everyone for the fantastic way they have treated me and my family. I would particularly like to thank the coaches for the opportunities they have given me and the supporters for always being behind me and the squad. We will truly miss London Irish.”
He added: “All this said there is still a little while before I go and there is still a job for me to do here between now and the end of the season. My priority right now is to do everything I can to help the team to finish in a top four position in the Premiership and end the season on a high.”