Warrington land Tatupu: Rugby League

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The Independent Online
Warrington welcomed their ninth recruit from New Zealand yesterday and predicted that there could be another to follow, writes Dave Hadfield.

Tony Tatupu, who has played in the second row for the Kiwis and Western Samoa, has finally arrived at the club after a tug-of-war for his services after his sacking from the Auckland Warriors. Halifax and the Australian club Hunter Mariners were both chasing Tatupu, but the player admitted he had wanted to play for Warrington from first talking to their coach, John Dorahy.

"I think we could have an awesome side here, with every chance of getting to Wembley this year," the 27-year-old Tatupu said. Dorahy has no doubts about his new signing. "With his pace and his ability, we have got a class player," he said.

Tatupu will be helped to settle in by the game's biggest Kiwi colony. Although the overseas quota is now set at six, various loopholes and exemptions mean that, even with nine on board, there is still room for one more.

"We are still looking for quality players, with a goal-kicking stand- off or full-back the priority," said the club's football manager, Alex Murphy.

Warrington, who have reduced the asking prices for three transfer-listed players - Lee Penny, Ian Knott and John Hough - will give debuts to their four new players in the friendly against Salford on Sunday. Apart from Tatupu, his compatriots Nigel Vagana and Dallas Mead and the former Great Britain Test hooker Martin Dermott will all get a run.

Salford will also have some new faces on show. As well as Andy Platt and John Cartwright, they are poised today to announce the signings of David Hulme and Esene Faimalo, both out of contract at Leeds.

The Silk Cut Challenge Cup final in May is already heading for a sell- out, according to the Rugby League, which has also denied that there is any danger of Paris failing to take part.