Auckland born Fotuali’i, 28, has penned a two-year deal with the Ospreys, and will link up with his new teammates next season.
He has been with Crusaders since 2007 and made his Super 14 debut against ACT Brumbies on the opening weekend of the 2008 season, before establishing himself as first choice scrum-half at the Christchurch based outfit for the 2010 season when he was voted in the Super 14 team of the year.
Capable of playing at 9 or 10, he has played 29 times for the Crusaders, scoring 38 points (seven tries and one drop goal), while he has gained considerable experience in the Air New Zealand/ITM Cup initially with Tasman, for whom he scored their first ever try in the competition in 2006, and with Hawkes Bay in 2010.
Last year he committed himself to Manu Samoa, making his international bow in a 13-10 win over Japan in Tokyo during October, a game in which he scored the only Samoan try. He then started all three of Samoa’s games in the UK during November, against Ireland, England and Scotland, again scoring his side’s only try in the narrow defeat to Scotland. His form for Samoa has seen him pick up two man-of-the-match awards from his four games.
Speaking about his impending move to the Ospreys, Fotuali’i commented:
“This is a great move for me and I’m really excited about coming to Wales and joining one of Europe’s leading rugby organisations. There are a lot of similarities between the set-up at the Crusaders and the Ospreys, both have a great reputation for bringing through young talent to represent their home team and the national side, and I’m really looking forward to a new experience.
“The Ospreys have a great set-up, with a fantastic stadium, quality training facilities, ambitious coaches and a good squad that is a mix of experienced internationals and young home grown talent, and this move is a fantastic opportunity for me. Going to the Ospreys is going to provide me with a real challenge, both on and off the field, but it is one that I feel is right for me at this stage of my rugby career.”
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, said:
“Kahn is an extremely versatile player, who is renowned in New Zealand for his professionalism and his hard working ethic, which will make him a great asset to the Ospreys. He is capable of playing to a very high standard in two key positions, and with the versatility and experience he has, provides a level of flexibility to the coaches that will prove to be extremely useful across a long season.
“He has come through the Crusaders rugby system, which is undoubtedly one of the most professional development structures in world rugby, and will bring that level of professionalism with him into our environment. While he is a name that may be unfamiliar to many UK rugby fans, he is someone who we believe will bring something different to the team, and he has the characteristics, professional and personal, that we want from our players.
“As has been in the case with previous signings who may have been under the radar in Wales, and I include the likes of Filo Tiatia, Tommy Bowe and Nikki Walker in that, we are confident in our ability to identify quality players that we can bring into our environment and really help them blossom, so that both parties benefit. We are really excited about working with Kahn and look forward to welcoming him to Ospreylia next season.”