Leinster confirm Lote Tuqiri signing

first_img“A consummate professional, Lote has an enormous wealth of experience in the game and we believe that he will play an important role in the squad over the coming weeks.” LEINSTER HAVE OFFICIALLY confirmed the signing of Australian wing Lote Tuqiri.The 33-year-old joins the province on a short-term contract, having been released by rugby league’s West Tigers earlier this month.Leinster’s head coach Matt O’Connor said, ”We are delighted to welcome a player of Lote’s calibre and his enthusiasm to make a positive impression at Leinster is exciting for both his new team-mates and supporters alike. An international in both union and league, Tuqiri renews a relationship with O’Connor that began during his stint with the Leicester Tigers in 2009/10.The 6ft 3ins winger won 67 Wallaby caps from 2003 to 2008, including two World Cups in ’03 and ’07. In that time, Tuqiri amassed 30 international tries and was a key attacking element in the Australian set-up.Tuqiri’s professional rugby career began with league side Brisbane Broncos in 1999, before he joined the Waratahs in Super Rugby in 2003. He scored 29 tries over the following seven seasons.After the spell with Leicester, the powerful wing returned to league, once again representing Australia on the international stage. Injuries have reduced his impact in recent years, with arm breaks befalling him in 2011 and 2012.Tuqiri has now been drafted in by Leinster to cover a perceived lack of depth in the back three, particularly with fellow new signing Zane Kirchner away on Rugby Championship duty with South Africa.Even as he approaches his 34th birthday next week, Tuqiri remains a fine physical specimen. His work ethic and easygoing nature made him a popular figure during his time at Leicester, and O’Connor will be hoping for more of the same.The tall winger is also a hefty unit at well over 100kg, and he offers Leinster an aerial threat they haven’t had on the wing since Shane Horgan retired. Expect Jimmy Gopperth and Ian Madigan to search him out with cross-field kicks.A short-term contract for three months means there is little risk for Leinster in the deal, even if it might prevent some of the younger members of the set-up from getting valuable exposure.Whether Tuqiri can make as big an impact as Brad Thorn did in his spell with Leinster remains to be seen.YouTube credit: Doggiesofwarlast_img

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