Castleford Tigers have made Tyla Hepi their first signing for 2020, as first revealed in League Express last night.
The prop forward will join from Toulouse Olympique on a one-year deal with the club having an option for an extra year.
Hepi has made almost 150 first-team appearances at the age of 25 and is the son of former Tiger Brad Hepi.
Despite being born in New Zealand, Hepi doesn’t count on the club’s quota.
“I haven’t really given it much thought yet because I’ve been focused on getting up to Super League with Toulouse,” Hepi said.
“I’ve been here four years and it’s been the goal for all that time so hopefully I can earn promotion here before coming across to Cas and having a shot next year.
“I feel like I’ve gone the long way round in my career, I’ve not taken any shortcuts. Looking back, I wasn’t ready to be a Super League player the last time with Hull KR. It did leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I was younger and I’ve been trying to get that back ever since.
“I used to be a bit loose out on the field but coming to Toulouse the coach here has coached that out of my game. I was a bit raw but full credit goes to him for making me the player I am today and I feel ready for this next step.
“I’m really excited about coming to Cas and I just want to cement a spot in the side, play week in, week out with the boys and focus on becoming a better player. Being realistic, I know that I’ll be starting from the bottom and working my way up but I’m hungry as can be to prove myself.”