Leigh Leopards confirmed the signing of Ava Seumanufagai on a contract until the end of the 2023 season.
The 31-year-old prop forward, who has extensive NRL and Super League experience, is expected to join up with his new teammates later this week.
Debuting for Wests Tigers in 2013, Seumanufagai has clocked up over 140 appearances in the NRL and enjoyed a two-year spell in the UK with Leeds Rhinos in 2019-20.
Leopards Head of Rugby Chris Chester explained that Head Coach Adrian Lam needed a quota spot replacement for the departed Blake Ferguson, both see Seumanufagai as an ideal fit for the club. At 6ft 2 and weighing in at over 18 stone he will add size, athleticism, and power to the Leopards pack.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand Seumanufagai was recruited by Parramatta Eels as a junior before moving to the Tigers in 2012. He went on to make 105 NRL appearances over five seasons, quickly earning a reputation for his consistency and durability. After a short spell at Cronulla, he began his English adventure with the Rhinos in May 2019.
The highlight of his time at Headingley was playing in the Rhinos’ Betfred Challenge Cup-winning side during the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season. He played alongside his new Leopards teammate Tom Briscoe in Rhinos’ 17-16 victory over Salford Red Devils behind closed doors at Wembley in October 2020.
A great signing and it may not be the last one the Leopards make for 2023.
Before the signing of Seumanufagai was confirmed on Thursday, coach Adrian Lam said the club could make as many as three more signings:
“I think we can still buy two or three players as the season goes on but we will let the first six weeks unfold and keep adding to the squad.”