Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have confirmed the signing of prop forward Taulima Tautai.
The 25-year-old has signed a deal at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium until the end of the 2014 season after his release from NRL side Parramatta Eels.
The Samoa international has long been linked with a move to Wakefield and he will arrive in England on Wednesday morning to join up with his new teammates, giving Wildcats a much-needed boost in the pack as they continue their search for a top-eight finish.
The Australian-born prop, who will fill the quota spot left by Isaac John, has played over 70 first grade games in Australia, being awarded the Rookie of the Year honour with Parramatta before moving on for a one-year spell with Cronulla Sharks and returning to Eels in 2012.
“I can’t wait. It’s a good opportunity for a new start and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
“I want to give something back to Wakefield and establish a career for myself in Super League.
“I’m really excited, the game is really fast paced and physical over there so I think it’ll suit my game. I watched the Wakefield against Catalan game on television recently and there’s some big boys over there.
“I started my career out on the wing but I like to be involved, get my hands on the ball, make tackles and go looking for work so I enjoy playing in the middle.”
As well as excelling in the red, white and blue of Wakefield, Tautai will be keen to impress to try and secure a place in Samoa’s squad for the World Cup at the end of the year.
He arrives in time for Wakefield’s Magic Weekend clash against Castleford Tigers on Saturday and head coach Richard Agar will have to decide whether his new arrival will go straight into his squad for the big derby.
“He’s fit and ready to go,” said Agar.
“It will give us a boost at this stage [of the season] and we haven’t filled the quota spot that Isaac [John] had which has been empty for most of the season. It will certainly give us what we’ve been looking for a while which is increased competition for places among our middle men which is something that will help our squad.
“He’s not played at Parra at all this year and hence he’s looking for a move, we’ve been able to utilise that situation and the timing of it has suited both parties.
“He’s formally an outside back but has made the transition into the forwards over the last two or three seasons.
“He’ll certainly add to the strength and depth of our forward back, he’s got good footwork and a real ability to get you on the front foot and get you a quick play of the ball.
“He has a little bit of versatility that he can play front-row and back-row and certainly in the short term we see him as an addition to our front-row.”