London Irish sign rugby league's Sa
May 2, 2012
Setaimata Sa back in his Sydney Roosters days © Getty Images
London Irish have completed the signing of rugby league's Setaimata Sa from the Catalan Dragons.
Sa has signed a three-year deal with the Exiles and looks set to follow in fellow rugby league convert Shontayne Hape's shoes and play in the centres. London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has labelled him an "offloading machine" and Sa comes to the Exiles having turned out in both the Super League and the National Rugby League where he played for the Sydney Roosters.
Smith is relishing seeing the 24-year-old in action and has already earmarked him to have the ability to replace one of London Irish's favourite sons in the centres.
"He's six feet three, 105 kilograms," Smith told BBC Berkshire. "There's no doubt about it, Setaimata is an exciting and wonderfully skilful player and we're delighted that he will be joining the squad next season.
"He's an outstanding player. To say that he's going to fill Seilala's [Mapusua] boots is a massive statement, but he's got the potential to do that. We think he is going to take the Aviva Premiership by storm.
"I've followed his career for the last six years. I spoke with his coach and he says that the Catalan Dragons are disappointed to lose him because they feel he has been their best player this season."
Sa has turned out for both New Zealand and Samoa's rugby league side and he is looking forward to having the chance to test himself in the Premiership.
"I'm really excited about joining London Irish," Sa said. "Returning to rugby union is something that I have been considering for a while, it has always been in my blood and testing my skills in the Aviva Premiership will be the ultimate challenge."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park