Felix Kalapu, a young prospect out of New Zealand whose signing was announced back in January, will finally be joining the team. After the previous announcement, there was rampant speculation that he would not actually join Old Glory, as he was seen practicing with Super Rugby franchise Moana Pasifika and playing in their preseason fixtures. However, it's now apparent that, for whatever reason, Kalapu will actually be joining OGDC.
To recap the previous announcement, the 22-year-old New Zealander made his professional debut in 2020 with Auckland in the NPC, but had his career disrupted by the cancelling of the 2021 season. He actually played with some of his new OGDC teammates, Danny Tusitala and William Talataina, during his brief time at Auckland. Kalapu previously played for the prestigious Auckland Grammar School and has been noted as an up-and-coming player.
Where Kalapu will fit in the line-up is a little unclear right now. His preferred position appears to be lock, and that's originally how he was announced and reported the first time around. It seemed a little strange at the time, since the team already had five other locks, making Kalapu the sixth. But with Tevita Naqali out for the near future and go-to backup Casey Renaud no longer with the team, Kalapu would likely slot in as the bench lock.
However, in Old Glory's most recent announcement they referred to him as a "back-row player", which changes that outlook. With Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz suspended, Canadian international Luke Campbell has stepped up as the starting number 8, leaving the flanker position to Dom Bailey and Cory Daniel, with young Irishman Fintan Coleman coming off the bench. Where Kalapu fits into that lineup, I have no idea.
Regardless, I really hope Kalapu can find a way to lift up a struggling team.
Edit: Upon further clarification, it seems Kalapu will be playing primarily at blindside flanker while also covering at lock.