URC champs Stormers strengthen midfield with Samoan centre

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Alapati Leiua. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Alapati Leiua. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
  • Defending URC champions, the Stormers, have signed Samoan international centre Alapati Leiua for the new campaign.
  • Stormers head coach John Dobson hopes Leiua will have the kind of impact Welshman Jamie Roberts had on the team pre-Covid.
  • The combative midfielder has played for Wasps and Bristol Bears in the English Premiership, and accumulated 31 Test caps for Samoa.

The Stormers have signed former Hurricanes youth product and Samoan international centre Alapati Leiua for the new United Rugby Championship (URC).

The defending URC champions used now-injured Springbok utility back Damian Willemse for the most part at first centre last year.

But they've added the powerful midfielder, who has played in the English Premiership, where he represented Wasps and the Bristol Bears, and accumulated 31 Test caps for Samoa, including four appearances at the last Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Stormers head coach John Dobson expected Leiua to have the kind of impact Welshman and British & Irish Lion Jamie Roberts had on the team pre-Covid.

"Alapati is a proven performer who will give us a hard edge in midfield while also mentoring some of the talented youngsters we have here," Dobson said about the combative 33-year-old.

"We saw the huge influence Jamie Roberts had in a short time here two years ago and we are expecting Alapati to play a similar role for us this season.

"We are looking forward to seeing the impact he makes here both on and off the field."

Leiua said he wanted to make the most of this opportunity to play for the defending champions in the URC.

"We all saw this team play some incredible rugby last season and I want to add to that with my skills.

"This is a great chance to work with some talented young players and experience a completely new rugby culture, so I can't wait to get stuck in," he said.


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