Daily Round Up – 30/07/2021 – Tigers Bring In Saumaki
Ex-NRL Star Rumoured To Be Joining Auckland
Auckland already looked to be packed with talent for this season’s NPC tournament. The recent early release of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from his Rugby League contract with the Warriors, means that he will feel his way into Union with the side. He could well be joined by a former partner in crime for the upcoming season. Auckland have been teasing another cross code signing over their social media channels and the silhouette of the star appears to be that of Solomone Kata.
The bulldozing winger shone for Super Rugby AU side the Plus500 Brumbies, in their title winning season. He scored 5 tries in 19 appearances for the Brumbies and has an excellent scoring rate for his five seasons in the NRL, with 46 tries in 93 matches. Kata represented Tonga, New Zealand, Melbourne Storm and the Warriors during his time in rugby league and alongside Tuivasa-Sheck, he helped guide the Warriors to their first finals appearance in seven years. Kata is no stranger to Union, having represented Tonga Under 21s and learned the trade at Sacred Heart College in Auckland. At 26 years old, Kata looks likely to be a star of the fifteen a side game and Auckland have certainly boosted their ranks with these two.
De Groet Rejoins The All Blacks
Prop Ethan De Groet has linked back up with the All Blacks squad as injury cover. The 22 year old Loosehead will join up for at least two weeks, as cover for Joe Moody and his calf injury. De Groet had been scheduled to play for Southland Stags in pre-season, but was a late withdrawal. he recently earned his first two caps for New Zealand but missed out on selection for The Rugby Championship, after Moody and tuungafasi eturned from injury.
Cory Hill Leaves Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues Statement:
Cardiff Rugby can confirm that Cory Hill has left the region with immediate effect to pursue an opportunity elsewhere.
The Wales international came through the system at Cardiff Arms Park and rejoined the region ahead of the 2020-21 season, making 11 further first team appearances.
However, last month Hill informed the region of his desire to explore an opportunity overseas and he has now been released from the remainder of his contract.
Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Dai Young: “It is obviously disappointing to lose a player of Cory’s calibre but we understand his decision and part on good terms. We wish Cory and his family the very best for the future.”
Rugby Australia Hit Back At Rassie
Rugby Australia have leapt to the defence of Referee Nic Berry, after his performance from the first Lions Test versus South Africa was scrutinised by Springboks Director OF Rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Head Of Rugby Australia Andy Marinos:
“Match officials form the very fabric of our game – simply, the game would not exist without them,”
“As a highly-regarded and respected international referee appointed by World Rugby, the attack on Nic’s integrity, character and reputation is unacceptable.
“We have been in contact with World Rugby, under whose auspices this Test Series sit, and understand that they are actively reviewing this matter as some facts presented were not accurate.
“It is important to ensure public attacks of this nature are not tolerated. We will continue to provide support to Nic at this time, as both his physical and mental well-being remains a priority for us.”
Danny Drake Leaves The Scarlets
Scarlets Second Row Danny Drake will be leaving the Welsh Region. The 26 year old joined in 2019 from New Zealand Provincial Side North Harbour. In 2019/20, head a short loan spell with English Premiership side Gloucester Rugby. The Scarlets statement does not say where Drake will be heading.
Scarlets general manager of rugby Jon Daniels: “We would like to thank Danny for his commitment to the Scarlets over the last couple of seasons and wish him well for the next chapter of his career.”
Leicester Tigers Bring In Fijian Back
Premiership side Leicester Tigers have announced the signing of Fijian Back Hosea Saumaki. The 29 year old Centre has played the majority of his rugby in Japan, after coming through the University system there. The powerful Tongan Back was second top try scorer in his debut Japanese Top League season with the Canon Eagles in 2017and went on to impress for Japanese Super Rugby team Sunwolves. Saumaki recently earned his first few full caps for the Tongan National side, having previously represented them at Under 20s and Sevens level. This signing fits the Tigers and Saumaki has the potential to be a fan favourite, at a club with a rich history of successful Pacific Island players.
Tigers Head Coach Steve Borthwick:
“Hosea is an exciting signing for the club.
“He is a strong, physical and fast outside-back who has shown himself to be a prolific try-scorer in his career-to-date.
“In our conversations with Hosea, we’ve been impressed by his desire to want to be a part of what we are building at Leicester Tigers and are looking forward to welcoming him to the club.”
Connacht Rugby Sign Ireland Under 20s Prop
Connacht Rugby have signed Ireland Under 20s and Wesley RFC Prop Sam Illo. The 20 year old with a hugely bright future had played his underage rugby for Leinster but now makes the switch to Connacht. He has signed a two year contract with the side.
Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend:
“Sam’s arrival to Connacht is another boost for us ahead of the new season. He was one of Ireland’s standout performers in the U20 Six Nations and has a very bright future ahead of him. I’m confident that at Connacht he will be able to take his game to the next level and give us further options in the front row.”