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Page last updated at 08:21 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Seilala Mapusua to leave London Irish at end of season

Seilala Mapusua
Mapusua joined Irish from the Highlanders in 2006

London Irish centre Seilala Mapusua will join Japanese side Kubota Spears at the end of the season.

The 30-year-old made 111 appearances for Irish during a five-year spell.

Exiles head coach Toby Booth told BBC Berkshire: "He said that this is the most difficult decision he's ever had to make.

"He's looking to secure his last professional contract and he's made a decision based on his career and his family from a financial point-of-view."

Booth added: "He's a terrific individual, a terrific player - everyone knows that. He's had a fantastic time here and he'll give 100% every time he wears that shirt.

"He's a guy that wants to go to war for you and that's what you need."

Mapusua added: "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 during my time at here.

"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.

"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".

As one door closes, another one opens and we might just be better for it

Toby Booth

Booth said that Mapusua's departure will present the club with some opportunities to sign new players.

He added: "We've put a lot of time and effort into trying to keep him at the club and that probably means that we've missed out on a couple of targets, but it's a double-edged opportunity because it frees up finance to use in other areas.

"It's a 'rob Peter to pay Paul' scenario because it means we can potentially get some fresh blood into the squad because that is what we've learnt above anything else - fresh blood and energy go hand-in-hand.

"So as one door closes, another one opens and we might just be better for it."



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