Uamano Ikapoté Fono

France France
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    Uamano Ikapoté Fono
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Uamano Ikapoté Fono

Uamano Ikapoté Fono Life and Career Highlights.

Known simply as Ika by his teammates, Uamano Ikapoté Fono is a Tongan native who has forged a solid reputation in France’s fiercely competitive Pro D2 division over an entire decade. Brother to both Siaosi Fono and Ueleni Fono, both well-respected professional rugby players in their own right, there’s no doubt about it: Ika has rugby in his blood.

Kicking off his Pro D2 career in 2008, Ika spent his first two seasons in France playing with Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne. Here he made his mark and was extended for a second season before Oyonnax Rugby, another Pro D2 club, recruited him for the 2010/2011 season.

At Oyonnax, Ika again spent two seasons playing with the club, and continued building his reputation as a force to be reckoned with. By the time 2012 rolled around, selectors had taken note, and he was one of the 35 Tongan players preselected for the November tests that year.

From here, Ika would prove unstoppable and continued playing in the Pro D2 division for another six years. Following on from Oyonnax he moved to Stado Tarbes Pyrénées (2012-2014), then Biarritz Olympique (2014-2016), before concluding he Pro D2 career with Soyaux-Angouleme (2016-2018).

But Ika wasn’t done yet, and he continues to this day playing in Frances Federal divisions. Following from his time at Soyaux-Angouleme, Ika landed at the Federal 1 club AS Mâcon Rugby (2018-2019), then Villefranche-sur-Saone (2019-2020). Finally, he was recruited by Sarlat Rugby Team where he continues to this day.

Standing at almost 2 m tall (1.95 m to be precise) and pushing 110kg on the scale, Ika is a versatile second and third-row player known for overpowering the opposition. A tower in the line out and a brick wall when tackling, Ika combines his height and strength to formidable effect on the field. Nowhere does this show more than when he takes possession of the ball, crashing through opponents as he advances up the field gaining every precious inch available.

Sarlat Rugby recently finished its first season without a single loss since the club’s founding back in 1903, with a perfect 22 wins for 22 games played. The addition of players like Lucas Caneda, Hemani Paea, Ikapote Fono and Dato Okriashvili has turned a team that used to used to play the bottom brackets into a contender qualified for the French Federal 2 championship finals and a brand that has secured a global following, with new fans hailing from every corner of the world.

This performance on the field has attracted the attention of big sports brands like Samurai. Based just across the channel in the U.K., Samurai Sportswear is a leading international kit supplier to sporting clubs from Australia and New Zealand to the English Premiership Rugby division. And, in it has been doing so for the last 25 years. And, in 2021, Samurai came onboard as Sarlat Rugby Team’s new kit supplier.

When word that Samurai Sportswear would potentially become the new kit sponsor for the team first spread, there was more than a little enthusiasm from some of the players. The current kit at the time left quite a lot to be desired. And, while not everyone knew who Samurai was at first, many players did.

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