Newcastle sign Tonga skipper

Date published: April 17 2015

Newcastle Falcons have added further international talent to their side for next season with the signing of Tongan international captain Nili Latu.

33-year-old Latu will join the Falcons from Japanese side NEC Green Rockets, where he has played since 2007.

Prior to that, the much-respected loose forward had played in his native New Zealand, first for Bay of Plenty before moving to play Super Rugby for first the Chiefs and later the Hurricanes.

Having made 42 international appearances as well as six appearances for invitational side Pacific Islanders, Latu is the current captain of the Tongan national side.  He was named in a World XV after the 2007 Rugby World Cup and is renowned for his high work rate and fierce defensive qualities.

"We're thrilled to be able to add an experienced and talented player like Nili to our back row options for next season," said Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards.

"Nili has a great deal of experience of playing at the very top level and is a world-class player with a great deal of rugby ahead of him. As the Tongan captain he also brings proven leadership experience on the international stage.

"As with all of our new recruits for the season ahead he's someone that we are confident will fit our style of play and we're excited to see how he performs on the Kingston Park Stadium artificial surface."