DELIGHTED coach Paul Anderson has admitted the news marquee signing Ukuma Ta’ai has finally received a work permit has given the Huddersfield Giants a boost – even though he won’t arrive in time for Saturday’s Super League XVIII opener at St Helens.
After two months of waiting, the former New Zealand Warriors back-rower has finally been told his visa application has been accepted.
Only the help of Holme Valley MP Jason McCartney and All Parliamentary Rugby League Group secretary Mark Ramsdale prevented a further delay in his application.
Ta’ai is now expected to jet into England over the weekend and look to make his debut in the home opener against London Broncos on Sunday week.
And Anderson is delighted that will be the case.
“We’re over the moon we’ve finally got our man, and we can’t wait to unleash him on the competition,” said Anderson.
“It can be a real pain in the backside when applications like Ukuma’s are held up by red tape, because there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it other than sit and wait.
“And any delay does cast doubt over whether there’s going to be a successful conclusion at all.
“But there’s no doubt anymore, and we can start planning with a Giants’ squad that will include Ukuma Ta’ai.
“Unfortunately, the news has come just a little too late for him to arrive in time to stake a claim for a start in our opening game at Saints.
“But he should be here for the start of next week, when I’ll be expecting him to push for a place in our side to face the Broncos at home.”