Rhinos capture Tongan test winger
Leeds Rhinos have captured Tongan winger David Fusitu’a for the 2022 Betfred Super League season with the flyer arriving at Emerald Headingley having played 108 games in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors and scored 61 tries.
He became a global star in 2017 when his hat trick stunned the Rugby League world as Tonga defeated New Zealand in the World Cup and he was only the 24th player in the Warriors history to make 100 appearances for the club. He finished as top try scorer in the NRL in 2018 with a remarkable 23 tries.
The winger turned 27 on Saturday and joins the Rhinos having signed a two year contract.
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar commented: “We are really excited to have signed David and I think he will be a great addition to our team. Undoubtedly, he is a world class talent, you only need to look at his highlights reel and see the spectacular tries he can score to know he will soon become a crowd favourite at the Rhinos.
"In the modern era, it is rare that a player of his ability becomes available for a Super League club and it is a great boost for us to have beaten off competition from a number of clubs to have secured his signature.
“He is still only 27 and, whilst we understand the reasons why he has not played as much football as he would have liked last season, having spoken to him, he is keen to return to his best in a Rhinos shirt. He is a player who loves to play with a smile on his face and I know he and his young family are looking forward to being part of the Rhinos family,” added Agar.
Fusitu’a, who also has two caps for New Zealand, will join up with the Rhinos for pre-season once the necessary visa paperwork has been completed, he commented: “It is going to be something new and fresh. Me and my family are excited to come over to England. Leeds have been a proud and successful club for a long time and I am looking forward to getting over, meeting the boys and starting the hard work with the team.
"I spoke to Richard Agar and you can see how genuine he is and the care he has for the club and his players. Leeds play an exciting brand of rugby league and I am excited to come over and be apart of that. As young kids we play Rugby League because, first of all, we love the game. For me to come over to the Rhinos, have a smile on my face, train hard and hopefully win plenty of games to give the fans something to cheer about will be special.”
Fusitu’a also brings flexibility to the Rhinos backline with the ability to play centre and full back as well as on the wing and he completes Leeds’ overseas quota for 2022 following on from the signings of Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer along with the retention of Matt Prior, Zane Tetevano, Bodene Thompson and Rhyse Martin.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington added, “I think this is great news for Rhinos fans and for the Betfred Super League. David is one of the Rugby League’s most exciting players and will certainly add some speed and class to next seasons Rhinos squad.
"I believe our overseas cohort are the strongest we have had for many years and show the careful management of our group to bring in world class talent to develop and work alongside our outstanding crop of young players coming through our own development pathway.”