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Highlanders

Exeter sign wing Vainikolo

09th May 2013 08:11

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Fetuu Vainikolo Tonga 2012

Chiefs move: Fetu'u Vainikolo

Exeter coach Rob Baxter has added to his squad for next season with the acquisition of former Highlanders and Connacht finisher Fetu'u Vainikolo.

The Tongan international is the latest newcomer added to the playing ranks at Sandy Park, having agreed a two-year deal from Connacht this week.

With not only seven international caps to his name, the 28-year-old winger arrives having previously featured for not only the Irish outfit, but also the Highlanders in the Super Rugby structure and Kiwi provincial sides Northland and Otago.

Baxter has made no secret of his desire to stregthen his options out wide, especially with the clubs saying farewells this season to the likes of Mark Foster, Josh Tatupu and Gonzalo Camacho, so Vainikolo's arrival is a massive boost to the Devon club who last weekend booked their spot in the Heineken Cup for a second straight year.

"People are aware we've got quite a lot of backs leaving so we have had to add some players in there, with Tom James signing and now we've signed Fetu'u," said Baxter.

"He was maybe off a few people's radar, but he's a high-quality player.

"We've looked a lot at a lot of his games and the key for us is we think 'this is where he is now, playing for Connacht, where would he be playing within our system and getting the touches on the ball we would hope they would get if they played with us?'

"He's a guy who's scoring tries and having game-breaking moments without always seeing that much of the ball. For us it's about how much more we can potentially get him in the game, if he's more involved in the game how many more of those moments will he have?

"He's the kind of guy who can scores tries a little bit out of nothing, he's a got an add-on of pace that's a bit different to what some players. He is steppy and quick and strong immediately in the contact environment, but he can also light the afterburners from what we've seen."

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