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Salford poach Leeds forward on two-year deal

Salford Red Devils have today announced the signing of Leeds forward King Vuniyayawa.

The Fijian international joined Leeds ahead of the 2021 campaign from New Zealand Warriors on a one-year deal. The versatile forward, who can play prop and second-row, was an emergency replacement after Ava Seumanufagai chose to go back home and was picked up by the Canterbury Bulldogs.

To Vuniyayawa’s credit, he stepped up to add to the Rhinos pack as Leeds struggled with injuries and suspensions throughout a difficult season for the eight-time Super League Champions.

His debut against St Helens may not have gone according to plan after he was knocked out by Agnatius Paasi, but he’s gone from strength to strength since whether by providing impact off the bench of filling in for the likes of Mikolaj Oledzki and co down the middle.

Ironically, he scored his first try for Leeds in a win against Salford at Headingley showing good pace to finish of a superb move in the middle of the field. The score demonstrated the 26-year-old’s magnificent athleticism.

Unfortunately, his time as a Rhino came to an abrupt end at the Magic Weekend where, after a superb performance, he picked up an injury which has seen him left out of the side since.

Now that he’s taken up a two-year deal with Salford, that win at the Magic Weekend will now go down as his final performance as a Rhino.

Speaking about the move to Lancashire, Vuniyayawa admitted he was eager for a new challenge and the opportunity to develop as a player: “I decided to come to Salford to take on new challenges and to keep progressing in terms of my footy.

“Super League footy is quite different to NRL footy, so learning to adjust to the game and how they play over here has taken a bit of time for me but I’m getting there.

“With joining the Devils, I feel like it’s a good move for me to focus on myself and what I can bring to the team.”

Salford’s Director of Rugby, Ian Blease shared Vuniyayawa’s excitement saying: “I am pleased and excited to bring in a quality player like King Vuniyayawa to the Red Devils for the next two seasons.

“King will add some strength and size to our pack as we continue to build our squad for 2022 & onwards. Going forward King will get the opportunity to build his career with the Red Devils having agreed to join us from the Leeds Rhinos.

“As a club, we will work hard with and give King our full backing to enable him to become a leading Super League forward.”

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