Tuqiri back for Tigers opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tuqiri back for Tigers opener

02/03/2010 10:42:58 AM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers star recruit Lote Tuqiri looks set to make a dramatic return in the opening round of the NRL season after securing an early release from English rugby union side Leicester.

Tuqiri will link up with his new Tigers teammates next week, and despite having just a handful of training sessions under his belt, is a likely starter against Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium on March 15.

Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys confirmed on Tuesday the club had come to an agreement overnight with Leicester for an early release for the dual international, who was initially not due to return to Australia until April.

Tuqiri, who has not played in the NRL since quitting Brisbane after the 2002 season to switch to the 15-man game, will play his final match for Leicester against London Irish this weekend.

"It is terrific news and a real bonus for us on the eve of the 2010 season," Humphreys said.

"I greatly appreciate Leicester's co-operation in making it possible."

While Tuqiri has been absent from the NRL for seven seasons, coach Tim Sheens said he would have no hesitation in rushing him back into his squad given his match fitness would be high following his stint in the northern hemisphere.

Sheens this week hinted Tuqiri - who played 99 games for the Broncos from 1999-2002 - would start on the wing before a possible switch to fullback later in the season.

"Lote's arrival will give the team a real lift as we prepare for Manly," Sheens said.

"We will monitor his condition but as long as he comes through the weekend's game injury free and recovers well from his flight, I would expect he would be involved in the round one match."

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