Leicester Tigers snap up Tonga wing and Wallabies second-row
Leicester Tigers have announced that Tonga wing Solomone Kata and Wallabies lock Sam Carter will join the club from Exeter and Ulster respectively.
Kata, 28, is also able to play at centre and is a cross-code exponent having played for New Zealand Warriors in the NRL and New Zealand at Test level.
Born in Tonga, he moved to New Zealand aged 16 before switching from union to league, playing over 100 games and scoring over 50 tries in the NRL.
Four years in Super Rugby
Kata returned to rugby union in 2019 as he joined the Brumbies in a three-year stint and made his international debut for Tonga in 2021. He joined Moana Pasifika for one season before leaving Super Rugby Pacific for Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership, also playing one campaign at the Sandy Park outfit.
“I am very excited to have Solomone joining Leicester Tigers from next season,” incoming head coach Dan McKellar told the club’s website.
“What you see is what you get with Solomone; he’s a physical, tough player, who also possesses a good skill set and offers us a genuine point of difference, in attack and defence, in the midfield.
“Importantly, Sol is a good man, who cares deeply about his teammates and I know will be a positive addition to our squad from next season.”
Discussing the move, Kata said: “As an Island boy growing up in Tonga, the only team I ever knew of in England was Leicester Tigers after watching Alesana Tuilagi represent the club.
“I knew back then just how big a club Leicester was and definitely dreamt of wanting to join a team that big. I mean, who wouldn’t want to join a club like Tigers?
“With Dan joining, it is very exciting to work with him again. I started my rugby career under him at the Brumbies and can’t wait to be coached by him again.
“I love the Premiership and the physicality of this competition. It is the kind of games I want to be involved in; taking on your opposition, man to man, and the way the crowds love that physicality.
“Mattioli Woods Welford Road is an unbelievable stadium with an unreal crowd, which was so loud and had so much energy in it. I can’t wait to have that ruthless support on my side.”
Carter joins from Ulster
Leicester Tigers have also confirmed the signing of Wallabies lock Carter ahead of next season, who joins from United Rugby Championship side Ulster.
The 33-year-old can also play in the back-row and is a solid addition to McKellar’s squad, as the hard-working lock has plenty of experience in the game.
Carter made his Super Rugby debut in 2011 and went on to play more than 120 games for the Brumbies, making his Test debut for Australia back in 2014.
“Sam is a great addition to our forward pack from next season and a player who has a wealth of experience in the game in both the southern and northern hemisphere, as well as having played Test rugby,” said McKellar.
“He is an outstanding line-out caller who enjoys the hard work and his signing provides us with strong depth in the second-row.
“In addition to what Sam gives us on the field, his leadership and character as a person are also huge positives to be bringing into our group, which I am pleased about.”
Carter said: “Leicester Tigers is a big club, one of the biggest in the game with such a proud history. It’s very exciting to be joining a club of this magnitude.
“I made the move to Ulster to test myself in the big games and arena that European rugby provides and know that it will be just as big and exciting a challenge to be able to do that with Leicester Tigers from next season.
“I am excited to link back up with Dan after a few years together in the Brumbies and, after speaking with him, looking forward to being a part of what he is looking to build at the club.”
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