Sekope Kepu announces retirement

Inaugural Moana Pasifika Captain and 110-test Australian International Sekope Kepu will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

The 38-year-old closes the chapter on an illustrious 19-year career. Kepu made his Super Rugby and Wallabies debut in 2008, winning a title with the Waratahs in 2014 and playing in three Rugby World Cups. 

The Sydney-born prop appeared in 141 matches for the Waratahs from 2008-2019 and had stints with Bordeaux in France and the London Irish. He returned to New Zealand where he has spent the last three seasons with Moana Pasifika.

“In the last couple of weeks it’s sort of dawned on me that this is the right time. Everybody that retires says you know when it’s time. All I dreamt of was to play rugby professionally and I’ve been very blessed to do that. While I will miss it, I’m looking forward to being there for my kids,” said Kepu.

“My wife (Anna) and kids (Faith-Rose, Israel, Isaiah and Steven-Judah) have had to sacrifice a lot for me to be able to play for this long. I’m forever grateful for their love and support over the years. I’ve been very fortunate that my kids have been able to watch dad play. Now it’s time for Dad to be their taxi driver to their sports games on the weekends.”

“I just want to thank the fans because without them we don’t have a game. My parents as well, the old man used to come to my training and games every weekend and that planted the seed.”

Kepu’s rugby journey began at the Tamaki Rugby Club in Auckland’s Glen Innes. 

“I would walk in my slazenger boots from home all the way to training on the footpath. Picking up feijoas and other fruits from the neighbouring homes on the way to training. Getting there early and you’re just mucking around with your teammates, doing a bit of eeling with plastic bags in the creeks,” said Kepu.

“Then having a big race at the end of the training session, it was just so much fun as a kid.”

Kepu is passionate about coaching and says it’s something he’d like to explore next, giving back to the game that has given him so much over the years. 

“I’ll miss the camaraderie and the brotherhood. Going to work with 40 of your best mates.”

“I’ll miss the travel, the nerves and excitement on the bus ride into the stadium and seeing the fans out there.”

Kepu added: “I’m focused on finishing off the 2024 season strong with Moana Pasifika.”

Moana Pasifika CEO Pelenato Sakalia said: “Moana Pasifika was blessed to have Sekope as our inaugural Captain in 2022. The video of the moment Sekope was announced as the Captain will live long in the memory as it captured the raw emotion and how special it was for all.”

“His extensive experience and leadership meant we had a Captain during the covid affected season that was able to lead the team and look after the boys during these trying times.”

“Sekope set high standards and wouldn’t accept anything less than what was required to enable the team to perform.”

His longevity in the game ensured the wealth of knowledge he had accumulated was brought to benefit Moana Pasifika in our inaugural year when he was Captain.”

“His presence within our environment was inspirational and lifted everyone to greater levels,” said Sakalia.

“Moana Pasifika will be forever grateful for what Sekope has brought to this movement.  His deeds on the field are well documented, but it was what he has done off the field for us these past three years that will leave an enduring legacy.”

“On behalf of Moana Pasifika we wish Sekope and his much loved family all the best for the future.”


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