6th February 2021, 13:28 | thunder
Newcastle Thunder have signed Tongan International Ukuma Ta’ai ahead of the 2021 Betfred Championship season.
Ta’ai signed for Huddersfield Giants back in 2012 and amassed almost 200 appearances for the Betfred Super League side before departing in the off-season. His nine-year spell at the John Smith’s Stadium included lifting the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013.
Previously, Ta’ai had featured in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors and has also earned 10 caps for Tonga, with the most recent against Lebanon in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Newcastle Thunder Head Coach Eamon O’Carrol said: “Ukumu is a great signing for us, he is going to bring a wealth of experience to what is a relatively young squad.
“When I have spoken to him, he sounds excited to be coming to Thunder and wants to be part of the club and is going to fit in well with our group and goals.”
Director of Rugby, Denis Betts, added: “Ukuma is a big statement signing for us as a club. He is a high-quality Super League player, and he is going to add a great deal to our squad.
“He is a devastating back-row with a great ability to break open a game and will be an enforcer for us in the forwards.
“With massive amounts of experience, it is a big statement that a player like him has chosen to come to Thunder and I look forward to him arriving.”