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Rugby News

Mapapalangi settling into life at Tigers

Valentino Mapapalangi made his Tigers debut against Gloucester on Saturday
Valentino Mapapalangi made his Tigers debut against Gloucester on Saturday

New recruit Valentino Mapapalangi says his Leicester Tigers debut “went pretty well” after he contributed to the 24-10 victory over Gloucester Rugby.

Mapapalangi came off the bench early in the second half of the Aviva Premiership clash at Welford Road and made a big impression on his first appearance.

And the Tonga international back-rower says the squad have helped him settle in to life at Tigers since his arrival in the summer.

He said: “I’m slowly getting my match fitness and I thought I went pretty well on the weekend. I just need a bit of consistency and to do my role on the field.

“I’ve found the environment really good and all the boys all welcomed me and there are a few familiar faces so it feels like I’m at home.”

Mapapalangi hopes to follow his debut up by being involved against Harlequins at The Twickenham Stoop on Saturday. And if called upon he is expecting a physical clash.

“I know Harlequins have got a big ball carrying number eight, in Matt Loamanu,” he said. “I’ve seen a couple of highlights of him and I know they’ve got players like Jamie Roberts, they have lots of good players.

“We will be looking to trust in our systems and what the coaches give us. I’ll put my hand up and everything I do on the field I will try to do what’s best for the team.”

Watch Mapapalangi in action for the Development XV earlier this season in the video below.