Polota-Nau signs for Leicester Tigers
Cardiff: Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been lost from Super Rugby after signing a multi-year deal with UK Premiership side Leicester Tigers.
The aftershocks of cutting a Super Rugby team are now being felt, with Polota-Nau deciding against playing in after his Western Force franchise was folded by Rugby (formerly n Rugby Union).
Polota-Nau, who has played 79 Tests for his country, will still be eligible to play for the Wallabies, however, given he has met the required 60-Test threshold.
The 32-year-old will be the only overseas-based player within the Wallabies squad now that Will Genia is returning to Super Rugby for a stint with the Melbourne Rebels.
Offers from a number of Super Rugby clubs clearly were not enticing enough to secure Polota-Nau’s signature which is a shame given he has been one of ‘s best forwards this year.
Polota-Nau has signed a 2??year deal with Leicester that will begin in December and he will link up with former Wallabies teammate Matt Toomua.
“I’m really looking forward to experiencing what northern hemisphere rugby is about,” Polota-Nau said in a statement. “To be privileged to do it with one of the most prestigious clubs of the English Premiership, Leicester Tigers, I believe that not only can I further my game individually, but they have the capacity to add plenty more trophies to their illustrious cabinet and history.
“I do hope that I can contribute to what I think is a very good start to their season and campaign. It will be interesting playing against some of the squad players in the November internationals but I’m very keen to switch thinking caps and get a taste of the challenges ahead.”
Just last week, before ‘s match against Japan, Polota-Nau insisted he wasn’t sure where he would end up.
“I haven’t had any offers,” Polota-Nau said. “There were some offers from overseas but I think I missed out on the window there because obviously I was hanging on to the Force announcement, which came late, so I will just have to wait and see.”
However, it is understood Polota-Nau was, in fact, offered contracts by multiple n clubs.
Although Polota-Nau will take his services to the northern hemisphere, he is still very much within Michael Cheika’s plans for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
With Stephen Moore retiring from Test rugby at the end of the month, Polota-Nau and youngster Jordan Uelese look set to be the men to lead to rugby’s next centrepiece event.
Leicester head coach Matt O’Connor, a former Wallaby and Queensland Reds co-coach, said: “Taf is a fierce player with a huge amount of experience in Super Rugby and at Test level. Now he is keen to experience rugby in the northern hemisphere and we’re delighted that he has chosen to come to Tigers. We think he will add a lot to a very competitive group of quality front-rowers here.”