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Rugby union star completes move to rugby league giants immediately

Wests Tigers have announced the signing of New Zealand outside back Solomon Alaimalo who has joined the club’s top-30 roster for the 2024 NRL season.

The 27-year-old is making the switch to rugby league after playing several seasons of Super Rugby with the Waikato Chiefs, and more recently with Canterbury in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.

Alaimalo arrived in Sydney on Sunday evening and had his first session with his new teammates at Wests Tigers’ Zurich Centre on Monday.

The Auckland-born speedster played his junior rugby for Canterbury before making his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs in 2017, when he was named Rookie of the Year.

Wests Tigers head coach Benji Marshall says Alaimalo, who is almost two metres tall, will add a lot to the squad.

“We’re very excited to have Solomon join the club,” said Marshall, “He is a very explosive athlete with great speed, power, and agility.

“He will also add leadership and experience to our group, and he is a man of great character.”

Alaimalo says he loves what he’s seen on day one at his new club: “It’s been a really nice welcome from everyone here at Wests Tigers from the moment I touched down last night.

“This place [the Zurich Centre] is amazing and I can’t wait to settle in and get stuck into pre-season training.

“There are a lot of guys in the squad who are from back home, including Benji, so that probably will make it even easier for me to adjust to my new home here at Wests Tigers.”

Solomon will return to New Zealand to be with his family for Christmas before relocating to Sydney with his partner and two dogs early in the New Year.

This news follows an influx of rugby union stars into the NRL with clubs being awarded salary cap leeway for bringing them in, with Sydney Roosters also making use of the rule after the departure of Joseph Suaali’i.

Rugby Australia have seemingly lost out in their bid to steal away many NRL star like Cameron Munster and Nathan Cleary and are now losing stars of their own.

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