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Former Gloucester star and Fiji international Akapusi Qera signs for Hartpury

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 10:00

Akapusi Qera. Picture, Martin Bennett/Gloucester Rugby Akapusi Qera. Picture, Martin Bennett/Gloucester Rugby

Hartpury have signed Fijian international and former Kingsholm favourite Akapusi Qera – universally known as ‘Q’ – for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

The player, who has been a free agent since the end of last season when he left French Top14 club Agen, has been training with Hartpury for the last few weeks and is close to match fitness.

There is one final piece of paperwork required – believed to be a formality that will be completed this week – before he is eligible for selection.

He could be involved as early as next weekend’s final Championship Cup clash with Bedford Blues, at the Gillman’s Ground.

Qera, who plays in the back row, was with Gloucester from the start of the 2007/08 season until his departure midway through 2013/14. He subsequently joined French giants Toulouse and then Montpelier.

Enormously popular with Cherry and Whites fans, he was voted as Gloucester’s player of the season in 2009/10 after being nominated as the Guinness Premiership player of the year in his first season with the club.

He has long been a part of the Fijian international set-up and has skippered the country in both the 15-a-side game and in sevens.

He has already played in three Rugby World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015 – the latter as captain) and is aiming for a fourth in Japan next year. He has also represented the Barbarians.

This is arguably the biggest signing in the relatively short history of Hartpury RFC. His arrival will provide a boost for the Red and Blacks, who face a fight to maintain their Championship status, while the player himself will get important game-time ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Hartpury’s director of rugby John Barnes said: “Q is an experienced signing and a player that (head coach) Mark Cornwell knows well, having initially brought him from Birmingham Bees to Gloucester.

“He will add a huge amount of experience and some much-needed physicality, which we’ve lacked this season so far.

“He will also help our young players in their development, which is always crucial to signing players of his quality. We are looking for him to add value to our programme, both on the pitch and off.”

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