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Tigers add Tongan Pakalani to squad

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Tonga international Atieli ‘Afa’ Pakalani has joined Leicester Tigers.

The 25-year-old Pakalani can play at full-back and wing, and arrives in Leicester after previous experience with Auckland in New Zealand and in Super Rugby with the Waratahs, making his debut there as a teenager in 2011.

A former captain of Tonga Under-20s and a member of Australia’s Sevens programme during 2014, Pakalani won his first Test caps with Tonga against Pacific rivals Fiji and Samoa in the summer of 2017.

Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor, who already has Tonga internationals Telusa Veainu, Sione Kalamafoni and Valentino Mapapalangi at the club, said: “Afa is a good player in the back three, he has played his first Test rugby this year and he is a good age profile for us.

“We’ve been looking for a bit of depth in our backline options and we look forward to working with him.”

Pakalani said: “I was very excited that Leicester were interested in me and now I’m excited to be here, at one of the big clubs in Europe. I’ve experience a few different countries and environments to get here but it’s a great set-up with the players, staff and coaches.

“There are some very experienced players in the squad. I’m just settling in and I think I can learn a lot from guys here like Matt Toomua, Manu and Telusa.”