Quins sign 'Gorilla' to fill gaps in midst

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The Independent Online

Harlequins are poised to strengthen their pack by signing the man known in the southern hemisphere as "Villa the Gorilla".

Richard Villasanti, who toured with the 2004 Kangaroos, has been given a release by his Australian club, Cronulla, to join Quins.

Though he has dropped out of the international reckoning over the past couple of years, Villasanti would still be a more than useful addition to the London club, who were hit by the sudden departure of two forwards, Solomon Haumono and Sione Faumuina, before the start of the season.

The Great Britain captain, Jamie Peacock, will make his first Super League appearance this season for Leeds against Hull tonight. Peacock fractured an eye socket during the friendly against Huddersfield two weeks ago, but has made a rapid recovery to reclaim his place in the Rhinos' team.

But Leeds' Ashley Gibson has been ruled out by the ankle injury he suffered in last week's victory at Salford and Nick Scruton has been sidelined by a fracture to his foot.

Lee Smith comes into the squad against a Hull side who have Graeme Horne and Motu Tony back after missing the draw with the Catalans Dragons with flu. Hull's new forward signing Willie Manu is still missing after breaking his nose in a pre-season game, but is expected to be fit to face Warrington next weekend.

The Brisbane Broncos and Australia captain, Darren Lockyer, has said that he would like to finish his career by playing in Super League. Lockyer, 29, who has three years to run on his Brisbane contract, said he would consider coming to Britain if his fitness held up after that.

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