Leigh Centurions have signed France international centre Mathias Pala from the Catalans Dragons with immediate effect.
The Centurions have paid a nominal transfer fee to secure Pala’s services. The 26-year-old joins the Centurions on a contract until the end of 2016 with the club having the option of a further year.
Born in Limoux of Italian descent, Pala came through the ranks of his home town club and has also played for Balmain Tigers in Australia and St Esteve. He made his Super League debut for the Dragons against Bradford Bulls in 2011 and has made 33 appearances for the club, scoring four tries.
Pala made his international debut for France against England in 2011 and missed out on the 2013 World Cup due to injury. He played for France against Ireland, Wales and Scotland in the 2014 European Championship series, featuring in the final two games as fullback and scoring two tries in the victory over Wales.
Centurions Head of Rugby Derek Beaumont said: ”We were made aware of Mathias earlier this year when his agent was in the UK. Ando (Reserves Head Coach Paul Anderson) and me were impressed with what we saw and discussed him with Rolls (Paul Rowley) when he returned from his break.
”Mathias is very strong with good feet and is proven at Super League and international level so is a positive addition to our family. Losing Michael Platt at this stage with an operation needed on his knee is an obvious blow and Mathias neutralises that initial loss and in the longer term on Platty’s return to fitness gives us more strength in depth.
“I am really looking forward to welcoming Mathias and ensuring he settles in with us quickly to put himself in contention for our next home game against Sheffield. I am sure our fantastic fans will welcome Mathias with open arms and he will soon learn from them the Leyth language.”
Head Coach Paul Rowley said: It’s good to have Mathias join us as we approach the business end of the season. He’s been on our radar for a while but we were more than happy with the players we had. However losing Platty we need to keep up the competition in that area to ensure the pressure in all areas remains consistent. I welcome Mathias to the club and look forward to his arrival.”