As the Chiefs look to defend their first-ever Super XV title the Hamilton-based side have enlisted the services of veteran second-rower Ross Filipo, who will add invaluable support to key players Craig Clarke and Brodie Retallick.
Although listed as a loose-forward on the Chiefs’ website the 1.96m tall Filipo has played the bulk of his professional career in the tight-five, having made his provincial debut for Marlborough in 2001.
A move to Wellington saw him playing in the top flight of the NPC in 2003, and led to a contract with the Crusaders in 2004. He played with the champion Red and Blacks over the next 5 seasons, amassing 45 caps and proving himself worthy cover for the Cantabrians’ more illustrious squad members.
Stints with the New Zealand Maori and the Junior All Blacks led to a full call-up in 2007, where he earned his first test cap against Scotland. In 2009 Filipo took up a two year deal with Bayonne before moving to Wasps for the 2011-12 season.
Filipo originally thought his professional career was over when he returned from London with his wife and two young children, until Wellington coach Chris Boyd convinced him otherwise, recruiting Filipo for the Lions’ 2012 ITM Cup campaign.
Chiefs’ coach Dave Rennie has a long history with Filipo, whom he coached in the Hurricanes Under-23 side, and will be sure to utilise the vast experience of the 33 year old, who can cover blindside flanker and number 8 as well as lock.