Edinburgh Rugby today bolstered their front-row reserves with the signing of experienced Tongan international hooker, Aleki Lutui, from Worcester Warriors on a two-year deal.
The Pacific Islander’s explosive on-field approach has earned him cult status at Sixways, playing 168 games and scoring 23 tries since his arrival in 2006, and with whom he reached the final and semi-final of the European Challenge Cup in 2008 and 2009.
On top of six seasons in England’s top flight, he arrives with four seasons of Super Rugby experience with the Chiefs and 40 caps for his country – the most recent earned in the 2011 Rugby World Cup victory (19-14) over eventual runners-up France on his second Cup campaign.
The front-rower is famed for being a talismanic figure for a nation renowned for their physicality, an attribute which interim head coach Stevie Scott believes make him a welcome addition to the squad.
-- Aleki Lutui (34): DOB - 1 July 1978, 6ft (1.83m) , 17st 5lbs (110 kg).
He said: “Aleki is a great signing for Edinburgh Rugby and I’m sure he’ll prove to be as popular with our fans as he’s been with clubs throughout his career.
“He’s a top international player with a wealth of experience, and has been one the top performers in the Premiership.
“He’s a big, aggressive ball carrier in excellent condition and, being Tongan, he likes the physical side of the game, which will be a huge asset to the club for the coming seasons.
-- Interim head coach Stevie Scott
The career of the former police officer took flight from New Zealand provincial side Bay of Plenty in 2002, where one season was enough to catch the eye of provincial scouts and progress into Super Rugby.
After ten seasons in two of the world’s toughest rugby competitions, Lutui is looking forward to a new challenge against the Celts of the RaboDirect PRO12.
I loved my time in Worcester and would like to thank the fans who were so supportive of me in my time there, but I’m very happy to have signed for Edinburgh Rugby and can’t wait to join up with the squad and get started.
-- New Edinburgh Rugby hooker, Aleki Lutui
“It’s a big change for me after seven years in Worcester but I’m really looking forward to experiencing a new championship.
“I’ve watched a lot of the PRO12 and the teams are among the biggest in European rugby. I can’t wait for this new challenge and to contribute to Edinburgh Rugby.”