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Castleford Tigers sign World Cup star from down under

It’s just over a week till the August 4th deadline of recruiting players and some teams have fared better than others with their mid-season signings, Hull KR have added Brad Schneider who helped them defeat both Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors, whilst Wakefield Trinity have also recruited well.

One side who is making a late play is Castleford Tigers with Andy Last’s side having made multiple overseas signings in the past week.

That’s included Liam Horne, a Papua New Guinea hooker who starred at the World Cup, and also forward Billy Tsikrikas with both players coming from down under.

To facilitate those moves it was announced yesterday evening that both Mahe Fonua and Bureta Faraimo had been released from the club so that they remained under their quote.

However at that point they still had one quota spot spare and talk was heating up that it would be fillied by Kayal Iro, son of Kevin who formerly played for Wigan, Leeds and St Helens.

Andy Last had previously referenced trying to get a deal done for the 23-year-old centre and rumours had resurfaced following reports from the Mole of Wide World of Sports that Castleford were ‘leading the hunt’ for his signature.

Instead though the Tigers have pivoted and opted for another 23-year-old talent but this time a Lebanese international and a forward, instead of a back.

The club have announced the signing of second-rower Charbel Tasipale on a one and a half year deal, with the option of a further year in the club’s favour.

Castleford stated via their website: “Castleford Tigers are pleased to announce the signing of Lebanese international Charbel Tasipale on a one-and-a-half-year contract with an option for a further year in the club’s favour!

“The Fords’ recruitment news is proudly brought to you and sponsored by the club’s official recruitment partner ORB recruitment.

“The 23-year-old came through the ranks at NRL side Parramatta Eels, representing the Eels in the Jersey Flegg Cup during 2020 and 2021. Tasipale then made the step up to play for Parramatta’s New South Wales Cup pack where he played nine matches in the 2021 season.

“A move to Cronulla Sharks followed last year and the back-rower has been a regular in their second-grade side, the Newtown Jets. Tasipale has been in red-hot form this year, crossing on seven occasions in 16 appearances, helping the Jets to a current position of third in the table.

“Cas’ newest recruit also has international experience under his belt, running out for Lebanon at the World Cup on these shores last year.

“When speaking to the club site the second-rower Tasipale outlined just how thrilled he is to be representing the Tigers in Super League.”

“I’m very excited about the opportunity that’s been given to me to play in Super League. Not many can say that they’ve played at that level so I’m very excited to move over. I found out last week about the interest and everything has moved pretty quickly.

“Obviously leaving home is a big thing but the moment I realised that this is what I’ve dreamed of, I really wanted to go.

“This year for me has been really good because I’ve been doing the extra stuff which has paid off because I will now be playing Super League. In second grade in Australia, the competition is at a really high level because the boys who are not playing NRL every week will come down and play against us.

“When you are playing against those boys the game is really physical so it’s an elite competition and I’ve worked really hard to get my starting spot. It’s a really hard competition to crack.”

Versatility is something he also brings with Tasipale explaining how he is capable of playing centre, something he actually prefers.

“Centre is probably my preferred spot, but I’ve been playing second row this year. Playing in the back row has given me the chance to have the ball more and get involved more in games. I’d say I’m both a second row and centre.
“I’m not afraid to make my tackles and I offer a lot of speed for a forward. I’ll do whatever I need to do to help the team win.”

He represented Lebabnon at the World Cup last year and even scored twice against Jamaica at Leigh Sports Village, something he talked about via the club site.

“It was one of the best moments of my career so far. It made it better that every game we went to there were fans because I couldn’t hear myself on the field. The support we got from the UK fans made it even better and I’m really excited to play in front of the Castleford fans.

“I’ve been watching some videos and they seem really passionate so I can’t wait to play in front of them.”

In closing, Charbel wanted to provide a message to the Fords faithful ahead of him flying over later in the week.

Castleford Head Coach Andy Last spoke of his delight in securing Tasipale’s signature and affirmed that his athletic ability will cause opposition teams problems in the weeks ahead.

“Charbel has been a standout player in the Newtown Jets team this year. We have looked closely and Charbel is very athletic and his line running really caught the eye.

“We feel his desire and ambition are what we want and need. The additions we have made we feel will create some competition for selection improving performance and ultimately help us get the results we need.”

He’ll have to wait for his debut having not been named in the 21-man squad to face Hull KR but he may well feature the week later against Huddersfield which could be a vital game.

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