New signing Sebastine Ikahihifo will train with his new Giants teammates for the first time today with a view to making his debut in Sunday’s Magic Weekend clash against St Helens in Newcastle.
The 25-year-old back-row forward of Tongan descent was signed by Huddersfield from Australian NRL club St George Dragons on a two-and-a-half-year deal at the weekend and arrived in England two days ago.
He arrived at the Dragons after making 39 senior appearances for the New Zealand Warriors – where he was a former teammates of Giants duo Ukuma Ta’ai and Sam Rapira – but has spent the start of this season playing for Illawarra Cuttersquad playing alongside former Warrington and Hull KR back-row forward Tyrone McCarthy and St Helens full-back Adam Quinlan in the Australian NRL’s Holden Cup reserve competition.
That means the former Junior Kiwi isn’t lacking in match fitness.
And Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson has admitted that his new man is in the frame to make his claret and gold debut at St James’ Park this weekend.
“I’ve already spent a couple of hours with him so we can get to know each other, and he’s obviously very keen to play,” said Anderson.
“As you can imagine, he’d like to play this weekend if at all possible.
“He’ll get one of two training sessions under his belt this week before we make a final decision on the squad to travel up to Newcastle, but at this stage we haven’t ruled anything out.
“Having played in the Holden Cup this season he is ready to go. It’s just a case of seeing how well he settles in and how he looks in training. But it’s definitely good to get him on board.”
Ikahihifo will be seen as a direct replacement for England back-row
forward Brett Ferres, who left the Giants for Leeds Rhinos in controversial circumstances during pre-season.