sport

Hala'ufia boosts Scarlets

Scarlets have boosted their pack for the forthcoming campaign with signing of destructive Tongan number 8 Chris Hala'ufia.

The 35-year-old powerhouse has switched from London Irish having made 122 appearances and scored 19 tries in six seasons with the Aviva Premiership club.

Hala'ufia, who has 20 caps and scored two tries for Tonga, is the second No 8 signing by Scarlets following the capture of Bridgend-born Rory Pitman from London Wasps.

Welcoming the signing, Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby said: "We're delighted to announce the addition of Chris to the squad for the forthcoming season and beyond.

\"We have consistently stated our intentions to add strength in depth to key areas of the squad. We have always been very clear in our messaging that any new player introduced to the squad has to be right for us and be a good match for our ethos here at the Scarlets.

"The pack has shown time and time again this season that they can compete with the best but we're all very clear that we need to ensure consistency in our performances.

\"Bringing in a player of Chris' ability will see us add not only strength in depth but invaluable experience.

"Chris has a reputation as one of the best No 8s in the game and he brings with him a wealth of experience and all the attributes of a ruthless 8. He's a strong ball carrier and runner but also has the ability to break tackles.

"A player of his experience will help us continue our development as a pack and will be a great support for the younger members of the squad, including young No 8 Rory Pitman who joins us from Wasps.\"

Hala'ufia is looking forward to the campaign ahead, saying: "This is a great opportunity for myself to stake a claim in the starting line-up at the Scarlets. I've had six great seasons with London Irish but I'm very much looking forward to a new challenge.

"There are some great players at the region and I'm hoping to play a strong part in the side's PRO12 and European campaigns next season.\"