Anthony Seibold likens NRL powerhouse David Fifita to rugby union star

Drew Darbyshire
David Fifita Indigenous All Stars PA

David Fifita in action for the Indigenous All Stars

England rugby union assistant coach Anthony Seibold has likened NRL star David Fifita to rugby union international Manu Tuilagi. 

Seibold crossed codes from rugby league to rugby union last autumn to link up with England RU coach Eddie Jones and his coaching staff.

Australian Seibold, 47, began his coaching career in rugby league with South Wales Scorpions. He then enjoyed assistant coaching roles at Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL.

Seibold went on to have stints as head coach of South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos. He has been working with England rugby union for half a year now.

Seibold has noticed similarities between Gold Coast Titans back-rower Fifita and Tuilagi, who will make his return for England in Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales.

He said: “Manu’s a powerful athlete. The one that stands out as a comparison is David Fifita, who plays for the Gold Coast Titans and State of Origin for Queensland.

“They’re very similar with regard to their physical attributes. Fifita plays as a back-rower in league, which is similar to playing 12 in union.

“He’s the closest one I’ve come across – a powerful athlete like Manu. Manu is a real glue, there’s no doubt. He’s a really enjoyable guy to coach.”

Manu Tuilagi England rugby union PA
Manu Tuilagi in action for England rugby union

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More on David Fifita

Fifita is one of the hottest prospects in the world of rugby league. Despite only being 21, he has already made 65 NRL appearances to date.

The Brisbane-born forward made 44 appearances for the Broncos before joining Queensland rivals Gold Coast Titans in 2021, where he has scored 17 tries in 21 games so far.

Fifita has represented the Indigenous All Stars four times and has played five games for Queensland in the State of Origin Arena.

The powerhouse back-rower played four games for Australia in the Nines World Cup in 2019, a tournament which he helped the Kangaroos win.

Fifita is of Torres Strait Islander descent on his mother’s side and Tongan descent on his father’s side.

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