Leigh Centurions sign international hooker

Leigh Centurions have confirmed the signing of Papua New Guinea international star Edwin Ipape, who becomes Adrian Lam’s latest acquisition to the squad preparing for the start of the Betfred Championship.

Ipape, 22, made his PNG international debut in 2019 and in his third game scored a sensational 65-metre try after breaking away from dummy half just before half-time in his side’s memorable 28-10 victory over Great Britain in Port Moresby.

More recently, he has been playing for PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup competition, after trials with NRL club Manly in 2020 were ended by the onset of the pandemic.

Head Coach Adrian Lam was delighted with the signing and said: “Edwin is a great signing for us in that he can play in a variety of positions. There are two main parts to his game. Firstly, he is an aggressive defender who makes his presence felt and secondly, he is incredibly quick and an elusive smart ball player. We hope to get him over here within a fortnight then he can get ready to make his debut.”

Head of Rugby Chris Chester explained the background to Ipape’s signing. “Edwin comes highly recommended, and Adrian has been keeping close tabs on him,” he said.

“Adrian mentioned him four or five weeks ago alongside another couple of PNG players and we are very pleased to get this deal over the line. It’s been a smooth process and Edwin can’t wait to get over here and get started.

“He’s a player who can play in a number of positions, 6, 7, 9 or 13 or even as a middle and he’s a no-nonsense type of player who doesn’t take a backward step. He runs well enough, as you’ll see if you watch his video clips, and hits hard defensively

“Playing in that famous win over Great Britain really showcased his abilities and that try he scored, just before half-time, is well worth watching time and again.

“Edwin will add so much versatility and depth to our squad and he’s made up to be coached by Adrian, who remains a major sporting hero in PNG. We think he’ll take the Championship by storm and our fans will love him.

“Recruitment is still ongoing, and Edwin is another piece of the jigsaw.”

Edwin Ipape said: “I am really excited about the opportunity that Leigh Centurions have given me. I am looking forward to meeting my new teammates and ripping in.

“I can’t wait to play in England and test myself against the best players in the competition.”

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