New Zealand Warriors forward Ukuma Ta’ai joins Super League Huddersfield Giants
TOUGH Tongan forward Ukuma Ta’ai has joined the Giants.
The 25-year-old has been handed a three-year contract and will arrive for the start of next season after making 52 appearances for the New Zealand Warriors in the Australian NRL.
The 6ft 3in, 16st 7lb forward comes with a reputation for being a strong, no-nonsense forward and will join the squad for pre-season training in late November.
Huddersfield kept the capture under wraps until a work permit for Ta’ai had been secured.
And head coach Paul Anderson is delighted to get hold of a player he has been tracking for some time.
“Ukuma has been on the Giants radar for quite a while and when I heard he may be available for a UK move I earmarked him as a priority signing,” revealed former Great Britain prop Anderson.
“He can play at prop or back-row and we will work out how to utilise his skills best during pre-season.
“He is physically a very strong man with natural size and strength which, allied to his aggressive style and off-loading ability, make him a dangerous rugby league player.
“I want players with size and strike, as we call it in the game, and Ukuma ticks all the boxes.”
Ta’ai is the third signing Anderson has so far secured for 2013 and follows in the footsteps of England back-row forward Brett Ferres – who arrived two months ago following an early release from Castleford Tigers – and Widnes prop Anthony Mullally.
And the man himself can’t wait to get started.
“It will be a new adventure for me and my family overseas and Huddersfield have a wonderful reputation Down Under as a good club to be at,” he said.
“They are always in the play-offs and I’m excited about helping move them next year, and I’ll certainly be supporting them in this year’s play-offs from here at home.
“I think their style will suit my strengths, as will Super League in general. It will be sad to leave the Warriors, who have been very good to me, but the opportunity at Huddersfield excites me and my family.”