As the financial realities of Covid-19 begin to hit, former All Blacks lock Vaea Fifita has been forced out of Wasps after just one season on a three-year deal.
Fifita joined Wasps as their standout acquisition last summer, but he has been hit by the Premiership’s pay limit decrease, which saw the cap fall from £6.4 million ($12.8 million) to £5 million in response to the financial devastation caused by Covid-19, with one marquee player excluded.
As a result, according to the Daily Telegraph UK, the Coventry-based squad has been forced to release Fifita, who has joined Welsh club Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.
Former All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa is reportedly poised to depart Wasps for the same reason, according to the Telegraph.
Fifita made his All Blacks debut in 2017, however, he struggled to establish consistent form in the No 6 shirt and was left out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup roster, deciding to pursue his career overseas.
With the impact of Covid-19 on UK teams forcing them to change their pay limitations, it may help New Zealand Rugby maintain elite players on home soil in the coming years.
While wealthy Japanese teams have been the preferred destination for many Kiwi players, they frequently return to New Zealand following a stint in Japan.