The winger, who has turned out for both Australia and Tonga at international level admitted that the move was unexpected, but he is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“The main things that attracted me to Newcastle were the attacking style of play that the Falcons are known for, and the chance to work with a quality director of rugby like Dean Richards and his coaches. I’ve played up at Kingston Park a few times, I know a few of the boys and I like the unpredictability they bring to the game. The move has come from out of nowhere, really, but as soon it was on the radar I knew it was a challenge I wanted to take up,” he said.
Due to his time with Tonga and having turned out for the other Premiership clubs, Vuna is friends with several players in the squad already and is excited about getting to know the rest of the team.
“I’m mates with Tane Takulua and Sinoti Sinoti from our Pacific Nations Cup rugby, likewise with Darren Barry from our time at Worcester, but other than that I’m really looking forward to coming up to the North East and forging some new friendships. I’m still in the Tonga picture for the Rugby World Cup but because I’m still in the UK I’m going to come up to Newcastle next week for the start of pre-season, just to get a couple of weeks’ work in before I head off,” he added.
Vuna hopes to be involved with Tonga at the Rugby World Cup later this year and following that he hopes to lead the Falcons to promotion.
“We’ll have to see what happens in terms of who makes the final squad for the tournament, but I’m excited about starting with the Falcons and seeing what contribution I can make. We’ve obviously got one big hurdle this season in terms of earning promotion back into the Premiership, but if we can achieve that then the club is in really good shape for many years to come with the talent we have in the squad,” he finished.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards confirmed that he has been trying to sign Vuna for some time now and is happy to have finally got his man.
“Cooper is a player I’ve admired for some time and I’m delighted to have finally got him up to Newcastle. He has fantastic footwork, great power and handling ability and he gives us another dangerous attacking option,” he said.
Vuna brings a wealth of experience to the club having also played Rugby League, as well as union, while his father, John, also represented Tonga’s international side.
Saracens Set to Land South African Starlet
Saracens have had their struggles of late but it appears as though despite everything they remain active in the transfer market and are preparing to sign one of South Africa’s brightest stars
With the South African side struggling with cash at the moment, losing a host of their star players in recent times, the English Premiership giants are preparing to swoop in for another, with it believed that the utility forward to sign a five-year contract.
At 22, the forward has been a regular for both the Stormers and Western Province over the past two years and if he does put pen to paper on the deal it would see him become available for England during his career.
The London-based side have had a rough few days being handed a £5.3 million fine and being deducted 35 points in the Premiership for a breach of salary cap rules, but while that is being appealed, the club seem likely to continue their transfer business as usual.
While for Saracens it would be a massive coup to sign Wiese, for the Stormers it would be a huge loss as they have already lost World Cup winners Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende, as well as other players such as Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Corne Fourie and EW Viljoen among others due to the current crisis at the franchise.
The Stormers have been struggling through their pre-season so far as a host of their players are on loan abroad and they await the returns of some of their World Cup stars.
They should be boosted by the returns of captain Siya Kolisi, Steven Kitshoff, Herschel Jantjies, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe and recent World Player of the Year winner Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are all set to come back to the franchise come mid-December.
However, the loss of another player and a rising star could not only be a blow for the club but for the Springboks in the future.
Saracens Handed Another Huge Set-Back
Saracens have had a tough few days and things have got worse yet again as one of their star youngsters has been ruled out for the remainder of the season
Saracens’ terrible week has just gone from bad to worse with the confirmation that prop Ralph Adams-Hale has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.
The 22-year-old picked up an ankle injury on Saturday during Sarries first win over Gloucester at Kingsholm in four years and was stretchered off the pitch.
It was confirmed that he underwent surgery on Sunday and will go under the knife once more in the coming days to fix the injury, which will now leave him sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Adams-Hale had started the season brightly with two starts and two sub appearances in the team’s first four games to follow on from his Premiership final appearance last season, but this is a cruel blow for him individually as he joins star full-back Liam Williams on the injury list.
Meanwhile, it is yet another set-back for the club as a whole, who were hit with a £5.3 million fine as well as a 35-point deduction following breach of salary cap regulations. They are fighting the decision, but if they fail in their appeal they will sink to the bottom of the Premiership table.
Currently on 13 points they would drop to -22, a whopping 26-points off current basement side Leicester who have only picked up four points from their first four games.
“We have got a plan for the worst-case scenario which will affect our strategy around the Champions Cup. Our job at the moment if the points deduction remains and the appeal is not successful is to try to stay up and that is what we will try and do,” he said last week.
Meanwhile, as well as those blows the reigning English and European champions could face punishment from the European body following their absence from last week’s Champions Cup launch day, with another fine most likely on the way.
Saracens will hope things will get better soon with the return of some key international stars, and will look to kick-start their European campaign on a high when they take on French giants Racing 92 this weekend.
Former All Black Set for Exiles Debut
London Irish have named their team for Sunday’s match against Leicester with three star signings poised for their Premiership debuts for the side
Former All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo has been announced on the right-wing following his sensational move to the Exiles during the summer and will be making his first appearance for them.
Along with Naholo hooker Saia Fainga’a is in the line-up for the first time as he prepares to make his debut for the English outfit.
Meanwhile, Australian international Nick Phipps could also make his debut for Irish if he comes off the bench at some point in the game.
Following their promotion to the top tier of English rugby the Exiles splashed the cash on a number of high-profile players with the likes of Curtis Rona, Ruan Botha and Paddy Jackson already playing a part in the opening stages of the season.
While they still have players such as Adam Coleman, Sekope Kepu and Sean O’Brien to come into the side as they try to cement a place in the Premiership for next season.
Irish are currently sitting in 10th position only one place above the Tigers, who claimed their first win of the season last time out and the Exiles director of rugby Declan Kidney is expecting a tough game this weekend.
“Leicester Tigers are coming off the back of a good home win against Gloucester last weekend, so we know the challenges that they present to us. We are improving as each match comes, so we will be looking to do the same this weekend,” he said.
With one win from their opening three games the Exiles will be hoping that their new signings will make an instant impact as they try to move away from the relegation spot.
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