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Championship side ‘beat off Super League competition’ to sign ex-Castleford Tigers man

Ambitious Championship side Doncaster have made yet another statement signing with the recruitment of former Super League player Tyla Hepi on a one-year deal.

The Dons earned themselves promotion to the Championship in 2023 via the League One play-offs, having finished three points shy of league leaders Dewsbury Rams.

That play-off run saw Doncaster whitewash another ambitious side in Oldham 36-0, before defeating second placed Hunslet and then North Wales Crusaders in the play-off final.

As such they’re now back in the Championship for the first time since 2015 when they suffered relegation after just one win 23, conceding 37 points a game on their way to the drop, but they return with a squad that suggests that they can certainly survive this time around, particularly with the addition of 30-year-old Hepi who boasts Super League experience.

Doncaster confirmed his arrival last night with a statement on the club website, reading: “The Dons are delighted to confirm the signing of Tyla Hepi on a one-year deal.

“The Dons have beaten off Betfred Super League competition to win the signature of 30-year-old Hepi, who has decided Doncaster RLFC is the right place for him to ply his trade in 2024.”

Hepi brings 26 games of Super League experience, whilst he’s also played for French side Toulouse over 100 times, adding size, power and importantly experience to the Doncaster pack.

“I’m really excited to get over and meet the boys and get into training. I’m even more excited to see where this year can take us,” Hepi explained.

Most recently the prop spent three years in South-West France with Toulouse, moving to Super League’s Castleford Tigers in 2020 before heading to Featherstone for the last two campaigns in the Betfred Championship.

Hepi went on to say, “The squad is looking lovely with real quality, knowledge and decent boys all round. I can’t wait to see you all down there on gameday.”

The club statement continued, adding:  “Tyla is the son of former rugby league player Brad Hepi who had two spells himself at Doncaster RLFC in 2001 and 2003 playing alongside current Dons chief executive Carl Hall.

“Hepi will be the last of the permanent signings ahead of the 2024 Betfred Championship campaign.”

The New Zealand born forward is just one of a number of impressive signings that Doncaster have made with the list perhaps headlined by Super League talent such as Alex Sutcliffe and Reece Lyn.

Former Leeds Rhinos prop Brett Ferres has also extended his contract with the club having signed prior to the 2023 season, whilst a number of other familiar faces fill out what looks like being a very competitive squad.

Craig Hall has also arrived with the Dons, a teammate of Hepi’s back in 2013 at Hull KR, whilst former Castleford Tigers teammate Suaia Matagi has also signed on to join the Dons.

They’ll certainly be a dark horse to watch out for in the upcoming campaign with other signings including Pauli Pauli, Luke Briscoe and Josh Guzdek.

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