Castleford head coach Daryl Powell has praised the pre-season form of new signing Tyla Hepi.
His arrival from Toulouse has gone somewhat under the radar, with NRL Premiership winner Sosaia Feki and 2019 Super League Grand Finalist George Griffin grabbing the headlines in terms of recruitment.
2020 will be Auckland-born Hepi’s second crack at the top-flight, after he began his career as a junior at Hull KR, making five appearances between 2011 and 2013, before spells with Gloucestershire All Golds and Whitehaven.
It was his displays in the South of France in the past four years, though, that caught Powell’s eye, and the Tigers boss admitted he likes what he’s seen from the 26-year-old so far.
“He’s got great intent about him,” Powell said following his side’s 16-10 loss to Toronto on Sunday. “In every game he’s played for us, he had maybe four offloads against Bradford, three in the last game against Widnes and he had a couple out there today – one that led to a try.
“He’s not the biggest front rower but he carries the ball really strong, as I say he’s got that offload and defensively he’s been pretty good as well.
“So I’ve been impressed with him this pre-season.”