Polota-Nau secures rugby future

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will be plying his trade in England from next month, signing a deal with Premiership side, Leicester Tigers.

The 32-year-old will join the Tigers after the Spring Tour wraps up, with a two-and-a-half year contract that will take him through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

With 78 Tests to his name, Australia's starting rake will still be available to play for the Wallabies, under the 60-Test rule, but won't feature on the domestic Australian rugby scene.

The former Waratah and Western Force hooker was close to an English move last season before an arm injury cost him a contract with Bristol, leading to his switch to the Force from Sydney.

This season, he has cemented himself as Australia's number one hooker, and it is believed that each of the four Australian Super Rugby franchises had shown interest in securing his services, a suggestion at odds with comments last week that he couldn't find a deal with an Australian club.

Leicester is building a strong Aussie contingent, with centre Matt Toomua in the second season of a three-year deal in the English club, and former Reds assistant Matt O'Connor at the coaching helm.

Polota-Nau will pack down with England internationals, including prop Dan Cole, at the Tigers in what could be a handy learning experience for the veteran.

“I'm really looking forward to experiencing what northern hemisphere rugby is about," he said in a statement.

"To be privileged to do it with one of the most prestigious clubs of the English Premiership, Leicester Tigers, I believe that not only can I further my game individually, but they have the capacity to add plenty more trophies to their illustrious cabinet and history. 

“I do hope that I can contribute to what I think is a very good start to their season and campaign.

“It will be interesting playing against some of the squad players in the November internationals but I’m very keen to switch thinking caps and get a taste of the challenges ahead.”

Polota-Nau is the latest Force player to announce his playing future, with Dane and Ross Haylett-Petty committing to the Rebels last week and locks Adam Coleman and Matt Philip also among those linked with the Melbourne franchise.

The Wallabies take on Wales on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 5:15pm local, Sunday 4:15am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sport and SBS.