Wests Tigers complete Tuqiri signing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wests Tigers complete Tuqiri signing

04/02/2010 07:21:07 PM Comments (0)

Lote Tuqiri has his sights set on reclaiming representative jumpers after agreeing to switch codes again and return to rugby league with Wests Tigers.

Sacked by the Australian Rugby Union in July for a breach of team rules, the dual international winger signed to return to the NRL on a three-year deal, ending months of speculation.

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens said the 30-year-old former Queensland State of Origin and Kangaroos star retained high ambitions and had a lot to offer in his second stint in the NRL.

"Lote's experience and ability will bring an X-factor to Wests Tigers," Sheens said.

"I know one of the main driving reasons behind Lote's decision is that he is very keen to break back into representative footy, something other players coming back from rugby union have been unable to do of late."

Tuqiri, who has been playing club rugby in the UK with Leicester, will link up with Wests Tigers at the end of March when he completes those commitments.

That could see him return to the 13-man code for the first time since leaving Brisbane in 2002, in round four against Canberra at Canberra Stadium.

That would give him plenty of time to press his claims to add to the six Queensland State of Origin caps he earned in 2001-02 while with the Brisbane Broncos before the switch to rugby union which saw him play 67 Tests including two World Cup tournaments for the Wallabies.

Veteran Tigers prop Todd Payten was already looking forward to the damage Wests Tigers could do out wide with Tuqiri on one wing and New Zealand powerhouse Taniela Tuiaki on the other.

"It will certainly give teams something to think about when we kick the ball," Payten told APP.

Payten, a member of the Tigers' 2005 premiership team, said Tuqiri's arrival reinforced his belief the Tigers will make the finals for the first time in five years in 2010.

"I was confident we would make the eight with the way we finished last season and getting Lote in makes us even stronger," he said.

"He has played at the highest level in two codes and the young players in our team such as Tim Moltzen and Robert Lui can only learn from him and get better."

Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys said securing Tuqiri was a great endorsement for the club and its prospects for the 2010 season.

"We made it clear early on that should Lote be interested in returning to rugby league, then Wests Tigers were keen to accommodate him," Humphreys said.

"Lote attracted significant interest from European rugby clubs who have greater financial resources than we do."

Tuqiri said he was glad to have his future settled and was looking forward to returning to the NRL.

"There was plenty of speculation about my next career move," said Tuqiri.

"I was really appreciative of the interest I received from a number of clubs which made my decision that much harder.

"I'm really excited to return to the NRL. There is no question it is one of the toughest sporting competitions in the world and I am confident Wests Tigers will enjoy great success in the coming years."

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