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Aviva Premiership
Sharks snap up Leota
ESPNscrum Staff
August 11, 2011
The Highlanders' Johnny Leota exploits a gap in the Bulls' defence, Highlanders v Bulls, Super 14, Palmerston North, New Zealand, March 28, 2009
Leota has previously played Super Rugby for the Highlanders © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Johnny Leota
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: England | Samoa

Sale Sharks have continued their recruitment drive ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season with the signing of Samoa international centre Johnny Leota.

The 27-year-old, who made his Test bow during this year's Pacific Nations Cup, is set to make the switch from New Zealand side Manawatu although his arrival may be delayed if he earns selection for next month's Rugby World Cup.

He made his provincial debut for the Turbos in 2004 and has since had two spells of Super Rugby with the Highlanders - most recently in 2009. Leota missed part of the 2010 season through injury but has fought his way back to full fitness and has been in ITM Cup action for Manawatu in recent weeks.

The Sharks' executive director of sport, Steve Diamond, commented, "Johnny is a great signing for us and I am sure he will fit in well at the club. He is playing well and I have had my eye on him for some time.

"He is a great defender and a great line breaker with ball in hand. Fans will remember when we signed Graham Bond nine years ago and what an impact he had. Johnny is a very similar player and we have high hopes for him."

Sale have recruited heavily ahead of the new campaign and have added the likes of Munster's Tony Buckley, Wales' Andy Powell and Clermont's Tasesa Lavea to their ranks.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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