Sport

Saturday 25 November 2017

Leinster set to seal deal for former Wallabies winger Tuqiri

Lote Tuqiri
Lote Tuqiri
Lote Tuqiri
Conor George

Conor George

LEINSTER are understood to be close to finalising a deal to bring former Australian international Lote Tuqiri to the province.

Negotiations between the Amlin Cup champions and Tuqiri have progressed to such an extent that Leinster have put the process to secure a work visa in motion.

In this process, the first port of call for a club is the IRFU and it is understood Leinster have already been in contact to begin registering the 33-year-old winger.

Leinster have one 'foreigner' spot open on their roster and have been actively looking to bolster their options in the backline following the unfortunate forced retirement of Eoin O'Malley and the departure of Isa Nacewa.

Tuqiri has been persistently linked with Leinster in recent weeks after it was suggested he was ready to switch back to rugby union having turned out for rugby league outfit West Tigers in the NRL for the last three years.

In total, Tuqiri made 67 appearances for the Wallabies, scoring 30 tries and starting the 2003 World Cup final. He also played a season in the Premiership with Leicester Tigers in 2009/10 when, interestingly, he worked under Leicester's then backs coach Matt O'Connor.

O'Connor joined Leicester in 2008 and was promoted to head coach in succession to the newly appointed director of rugby Richard Cockerill. Tuqiri played 16 times for Leicester and returned to rugby league in 2010.

His career with them has been disrupted because of a variety of injuries but he returned from a broken arm to feature in Tigers' most recent fixtures.

Tuqiri had several disciplinary issues through his union career, before he was released from his ARU contract in 2009 and had his international career ended.

In 2005, he and Wendell Sailor were fined and received two-match suspended sentences for breaking curfew and in 2007, Tuqiri turned up late to a Wallabies training session and received a substantial fine and a two-game suspension as a carry-over from the '05 incident.

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