Wallabies star Lote Tuqiri to join Leinster
Dual international Lote Tuqiri is returning to rugby union with Irish side Leinster after he was granted a release by Wests Tigers, the Australian club have announced.
The 33-year-old, who is out of contract with the Tigers at the end of the NRL season, agreed a three-month deal with the Irish outfit on Tuesday.
"I've really enjoyed my time at Wests Tigers and will take with me a lot of special memories as well as many friendships I've made with the players and staff," Tuqiri, who flew out of Sydney for Europe on Monday, said on www.weststigers.com.au.
"My first year in 2010 was incredible. To come back from rugby and to achieve what I did was a great feeling.
"It was a great side to be a part of it but unfortunately we fell one game short of the grand final.
"I would just like to thank former coach Tim Sheens for giving me that opportunity to again play in the NRL. I also enjoyed working under Mick Potter this season.
"It was an honour to play for Wests Tigers and I know the club will only get stronger in the seasons ahead. There is some tremendous young talent here."
Tuqiri played 52 games for the Tigers in four seasons at the club, which were marred by injury.
After playing a leading role in the club's march to the preliminary final in 2010, the veteran winger managed just a handful of appearances over the last two campaigns.
Tuqiri has played 151 NRL games, including a stint at the Broncos where he won a premiership in 2000.
The former NSW Waratahs and Leicester player had a seven-year stint in rugby union from 2003 to 2009 during which he earned 67 caps and scored 30 tries for Australia, including an appearance in the 2003 World Cup final.