Sunwolves recruit Tasman flyer

Date published: February 23 2016

Tasman Makos winger Viliami Lolohea has signed with the Sunwolves ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby competition.

The Tasman Rugby Union's chief executive Tony Lewis confirmed that Lolohea had signed with the new Japanese franchise, to be coached by new Tasman assistant coach Mark Hammett, about four weeks ago.

"Hammer was after a winger and [Tasman head coach] Leon [MacDonald] and myself put together a case and sent a bit of footage over to Japan of his good and bad points and they've contracted him," Lewis told the Tasman Makos website.

"It'd be fair to say that we're pretty surprised that he didn't get a contract in New Zealand. 

"When you look at the quality of wingers running around in the ITM Cup and Super Rugby, he must have been up there but for whatever reason, he wasn't picked up."

The former Warriors U20 league winger is one of Tasman's contracted players for next season. 

"After a slow start to last season's National Provincial Championship, Lolohea developed into one of Tasman's more consistent players as he finally began to show some genuine attacking ability.

Lolohea, 22, made his Tasman debut against Manawatu last season and has played eight games for the province.

Lewis said that his continued exposure to top level rugby would further help his rugby education.

"I think the bonus for us is that he's in a professional environment…he'll be working with one of the coaches and it's a positive all round. 

"And he's a kid who, the higher he plays, the better he plays."