Scarlets are delighted to confirm the signing of All Black Vaea Fifita.
The 29-year-old, who can play in the second row and back row, will make the switch from Gallagher Premiership side Wasps in the summer.
An athletic, dynamic carrier with searing pace, Fifta was described by commentators as a ‘freak of nature’ when he burst onto the international scene in 2017. He is also a commanding line-out presence and renowned for his ability to steal opposition ball.
Fifta made a memorable first Test start against Argentina in the Rugby Championship, scoring a stunning individual try and has made 11 appearances in the famous New Zealand jersey.
Tongan born and raised, as a teenager he moved to New Zealand on a scholarship and went on to star in provincial rugby for Wellington and then Super Rugby for the Hurricanes, delivering a try-scoring appearance against the touring 2017 British & Irish Lions.
Fifita will link up with his former Hurricanes team-mates Sam Lousi and Blade Thomson at Parc y Scarlets, with Fifita and Thomson having been members of the Canes’ Super Rugby title-winning squad of 2016.
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel: “We have signed a world-class player in Vaea and this is a real statement of our intent and ambition as a club. Vaea is a superb athlete, an X-factor player with the all-round skill-set that fits with how we are looking to play at the Scarlets.
“He also brings a lot of experience at international and Super Rugby level and as well as adding Test-match quality to our pool of second rows, that experience will be invaluable to the young forwards that are coming through at the club.
“Vaea is the kind of player that gets fans out of their seats and it’s hugely exciting that he will be pulling on the Scarlets jersey next season. I am sure Scarlets fans will enjoy watching him and we can’t wait to welcome him to Parc y Scarlets in the summer.”
Vaea Fifita said: “My family and I cannot wait to be a part of the West Wales community. I will be working hard to achieve the ambitious goals that the club has set for the future.
“I have confidence that this group can bring pride and success to the people of the region. I look forward to meeting you all for the first time at Parc y Scarlets.”
Scarlets General Manager of Rugby Jon Daniels said: “Vaea is a quality player and we are delighted he has agreed to join us at Scarlets. We identified early in our recruitment cycle that a world-class lock was vital to our performance as well as supporting the development of the quality young second rows we have here at Scarlets. Vaea has been top of our list of targets for quite some time.”