Newcastle Falcons sign Opeti Fonua from Leicester Tigers
By Mike Patterson
Last Updated: 11/08/16 12:48pm
Newcastle Falcons have signed Tonga back-row forward Opeti Fonua from Leicester Tigers.
The 30-year-old, capped 11 times by Tonga, has scored five tries in 21 Aviva Premiership appearances over the past two seasons for Leicester as well as touching down a further 11 times in his 21 European outings.
Fonua arrived in England after seven seasons with French clubs Agen and Bayonne and played for Tonga in the 2015 World Cup.
He joins fellow Tonga internationals Nili Latu, Sonatane Takulua and Taione Vea in the Falcons' squad, and director of rugby Dean Richards said: "Opeti is a big physical specimen who will cause a lot of trouble for defences.
"He strung together a good series of appearances for Leicester at the end of last season as well as featuring strongly for Tonga during their summer international programme, and he is already up here training with us.
"Through our network of Tonga international players we have been able to get a good picture of Opeti, both from a playing and a character standpoint.
"He gives us a different dimension, he is already experienced in Premiership rugby and he is looking good. We look forward to seeing the contribution he will make to our team and I am sure our supporters will enjoy his very direct approach."
Fonua said: "It is an honour to be joining Newcastle Falcons, and I hope I can play a big part in lifting the club.
"Things are in place for the Falcons to have a big year, and the fact that many of Tonga's best players are already in the squad here was a big part in my decision. I have been up here for a few days already to get things sorted, and I have been impressed by the boys and the set-up."