New Zealand winger Charles Piutau will join Wasps next season before heading to Belfast to link up with Ulster.
The 23 year-old full-back/wing/centre will join Wasps on a one-season-deal for the 2015/16 season, having already signed for Ulster for the following season, and will arrive at Wasps after his ITM Cup commitments.
Piutau, who has been in superb form for the All Blacks during the past couple of months, was unlucky to narrowly miss out on selection in their final 31-man Rugby World Cup squad.
He made his Test debut against France in New Plymouth on June 22, 2013 and has gone on to win 17 caps for the All Blacks.
Piutau’s attacking flair led to him becoming top try scorer for New Zealand Under-20s in their 2011 World Championship winning campaign. He has also represented New Zealand Sevens and Tonga U20s.
Piutau’s versatility in the backline, alongside his quality, will boost Wasps’ strength in depth further for the 2015/16 Aviva Premiership and European campaigns.
Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “The opportunity arose for us to sign Charles and we jumped at the chance. We’re really pleased to have been able to bring on board someone of Charles’ quality. His addition will bolster the strong recruitment we’ve already made for the new season, complementing the talented squad we already have in place.
“Charles will really add to what we are doing at Wasps. We have a number of players, including Charles, who can cover a number of positions in our backline. Charles can play wing, or full back or centre, just like a number of our guys can interchange.
“If we want to be successful, we need to have strength in depth, particularly this season when you switch between Premiership and European games week after week. You are going to pick up bumps and bruises, so it’s really important to have players who can play in a couple of positions and strength in depth across the board. I believe Charles can add to that. If everyone is fit, it will provide real competition for selection and will give Wasps a real quality backline.”
Charles Piutau said: “When the opportunity arose to play for Wasps I was excited. It’s a club with a proud history and one that has recruited very well over the last few seasons. I know Alapati Leiua from NZ and am looking forward to playing with him, as well as continuing to play alongside Frank Halai who I have played a lot of rugby with.
“I have also heard great things about playing at the Ricoh Arena and the crowd support there and I look forward to making a contribution to what will hopefully be a very successful season.”