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Dual international star Lote Tuqiri has returned to rugby union to join Leinster after he was released by former club Wests Tigers in Australia’s NRL.
The 33-year-old’s contract with the Tigers was set to expire at the end of the current season but the Australian has been allowed to leave the club early and he has taken up the option to join the RaboDirect PRO12 club on a three-month deal.
Speaking about his move, Tuqiri said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Wests Tigers and will take with me a lot of special memories as well as many friendships I’ve made with the players and staff.
“My first year in 2010 was incredible. To come back from rugby and to achieve what I did was a great feeling. It was a great side to be a part of it but unfortunately we fell one game short of the Grand Final.
“I would just like to thank former coach Tim Sheens for giving me that opportunity to again play in the NRL. I also enjoyed working under Mick Potter this season. It was an honour to play for Wests Tigers and I know the club will only get stronger in the seasons ahead. There is some tremendous young talent here.”
The winger made 52 appearances in a four-season spell with the Tigers, who have also just lost star Benji Marshall to rugby union. After playing a big role in the club’s march to the preliminary final in 2010, the veteran has struggled with injuries in the past two campaigns.
Tuqiri played 151 NRL games, including a spell with Brisbane Broncos where he won the Premiership in 2000.
The former NSW Waratahs and Leicester star played union between 2003 and 2009 and scored 30 tries in 67 internationals with Australia.