10 Jun 2019

Tyla Hepi set for Tigers

Toulouse Olympique's Tyla Hepi signs for Castleford Tigers

Castleford Tigers have made their first addition for the 2020 season with the signing of Toulouse Olympique forward Tyla Hepi.

Hepi will move to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on a one-year contract next season with a further one-year option in the club’s favour for 2021, and will add plenty of impact to the first team squad.

Hepi, whose father Brad had a two-year spell at Cas in the early 2000s, has racked up close to 150 first team appearances at the age of 25, with his former clubs also including Hull KR, Wyong Roos and Auckland’s Point Chevalier Pirates.

Despite being born in New Zealand, Hepi is considered to be federation trained and therefore does not count on the club’s overseas quota, with the 101kg prop also able to cover in the back row.

Speaking to castlefordtigers.com, Hepi said: “I haven’t really given it much thought yet because I’ve been focused on getting up to Super League with Toulouse. I’ve been here four years and it’s been the goal for all that time so hopefully I can earn promotion here before coming across to Cas and having a shot next year.

“I feel like I’ve gone the long way round in my career, I’ve not taken any shortcuts. Looking back, I wasn’t ready to be a Super League player the last time with Hull KR. It did leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I was younger and I’ve been trying to get that back ever since.

“I used to be a bit loose out on the field but coming to Toulouse the coach here has coached that out of my game. I was a bit raw but full credit goes to him for making me the player I am today and I feel ready for this next step.

“I’m really excited about coming to Cas and I just want to cement a spot in the side, play week in, week out with the boys and focus on becoming a better player. Being realistic, I know that I’ll be starting from the bottom and working my way up but I’m hungry as can be to prove myself.”

Head coach Daryl Powell added: “Tyla is a quality young prop who I’m absolutely confident the fans will love. His dad played for the club and he has the same attitude as him. He will take Mitch Clark’s place in the squad and will fill it with commitment, dedication and desire.  He is a tough defender and carries with real impact. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play in our great colours next season.”