Dragons secure Tuilagi's signature
November 29, 2011
Andy Tuilagi brings a physical presence to the Dragons' midfield © Getty Images
Newport Gwent Dragons have bolstered their centre options with the signing of Anitelea 'Andy' Tuilagi from the Sale Sharks on a two-year deal.
The Samoan international - who can also play on the wing - turned out for the Aviva Premiership side 42 times over his three years at Edgeley Park and has also plied his trade for St Helens in rugby league. Tuilagi - brother of England star Manu and Tigers winger Alesana - will bring a physical presence to the Dragons' backline and coach Darren Edwards is relishing the chance to work with his man.
"Andy is exactly what we want in our back line," Edwards said. "We were keen to look at the strengths we have within our squad and make careful signings based on players who we feel will add to our game. Having worked with Andy at Leeds, I'm very aware of his qualities as a player and am confident that he will be successful at Rodney Parade.
"We have a great deal of skill and pace in our backs and Andy will bring a physicality and a line-breaking ability that will really compliment our current squad."
Tuilagi's arrival at Rodney Parade has been rumoured to be in the pipeline for a while and regional director of rugby Rob Beale was delighted to welcome to his man. "This has been a very long process for the Dragons and for Andy," he said. "I know there has been media speculation over the past couple of months, but we had to ensure that this deal was done properly and that Andy had the necessary documentation in place before the signing was made.
"Having said that, Andy's reputation speaks for itself and I am confident that the wait will be well worth it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton