Lopeti Timani links up with the first-team squad next week and he is ready to do whatever it takes to help Cardiff in the season ahead.
The physically imposing forward arrived in Cardiff earlier this month and has undertaken a phased transition into full training.
He has spent the last two weeks undertaking conditioning work and settling into his new Whitchurch home but next week training shifts a gear and Timani cannot wait.
He said: “We’ve been here for two weeks now and we’re enjoying it. We find it easy to get around and we’re just looking forward to the rest of the year and the season.
“I’ve been watching training this last week and it looks like the players have been working really hard. I can’t wait to do what I can to help with the young players and I can learn at the same time.
“I’ll do whatever I can to help around the field from my experience and I’m just looking forward to getting involved and getting to know the boys.
“I’ve been doing a bit of running and stuff with the physio but then next week I start training full time. I’m excited and looking forward to getting involved with the rest of the players.
“What do I bring into the team? Obviously I will bring my strength. If I can carry the ball, tackle around the ruck but I will give everything I can to what benefits the team.
“I’m looking forward to getting involved, starting training and then getting the opportunity to play and represent the club.”
Timani arrived in Wales after spending the summer with Tonga, who he first represented last autumn after becoming the first player to switch alliance under the new World Rugby eligibility laws. He previously won 12 Test caps for Australia.
He adds to a rich history of Tongan influence at Cardiff Arms Park with Maama Molitika and Taufa’ao Filise earning legendary status and current teammates Willis Halaholo and Taulupe Faletau also of Tongan descent.
Timani continued: “Growing up, I heard about their names and finally I am here where they used to play. Hopefully I can follow in their footsteps in terms of what they achieved at the club and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person.
“I’ve played against Toby one or two times. Him and Willis are great players, I’ve heard they’re great blokes and I’m looking forward to playing with them and spending a bit of time together on and off the field.”
The second-row now has his sights set on the first game of the season and is also looking forward to his first taste of the famous Cardiff Arms Park atmosphere having previously played for the Wallabies at the Principality Stadium.
He added: “Back in 2016-17, it was my first tour with Australia. It was amazing, our first game was here against Wales and it was crazy with the crowd, the atmosphere was amazing and I’m looking forward to hopefully being involved in the first game.”
Cardiff kick-off their United Rugby Championship season at home to Munster on Friday, September 16 (7.35pm). Tickets are available now by clicking here.
All You Need To Know | Barbarians Double-Header
The Munster Men’s and Women’s team will be in action this weekend in a historic double-header against the Barbarians.
Find out all you need to know ahead of the games below.
There will be a minute’s applause for Greig Oliver ahead of the men’s game following his tragic passing in July. Hawick RFC posted a lovely piece on a commemorative event that was recently held at the club here. Read our tribute to Greig here.
The women’s game kicks off at 2pm and the men’s game starts at 4.30pm.
Tickets are available to purchase here from €20 for adults and €10 for juniors right up until kick off.
The best value tickets are the Family Packs of four tickets for just €40 which include 2 Adults & 2 Juniors tickets.
Live on Access Munster, brought to you by Pinergy – see full details here.
Did you know?
The URC trophy will be on display for photos behind the North Terrace.
The first-ever Barbarians Women’s game was played against Munster at Thomond Park in 2017.
The Munster men’s team have never faced the Barbarians.
All four sides will be named before lunchtime on Friday.
Hear from Munster Women’s Head Coach Niamh Briggs and Men’s Head Coach Graham Rowntree ahead of the games.
Tickets for all Munster men’s home game for the 2023/24 campaign are available here.
Images & Content from Munster Rugby
Cardiff announce signing of new fly-half
Cardiff Rugby have added further depth to their fly-half resources with the signing of former Wales Under-20s star Arwel Robson.
The 26-year-old arrives from Cornish Pirates where he has spent the last two seasons after leaving Dragons RFC in 2021.
Robson has already linked up with the first-team squad and is relishing the opportunity that lies ahead at Cardiff Arms Park.
He said: “I’m incredibly excited to make the move to Cardiff. It’s an honour to be able to play at the Arms Park and I can’t wait to get the chance to run out here for the first time.
“I grew up on the terraces of the Arms Park, in a family of Cardiff season ticket holders and I was a ball boy for years so it is a club that means a huge amount to me and my family.
“After speaking to Matt about the style of play he wants to utilise, I’m confident it will really suit me and also continue to bring my game on.
“I’m very grateful to everyone at Cornish Pirates for the opportunity and support they gave me in the past few years.
“I’ve played a lot of rugby down there and feel I am returning to Wales a better player and I am looking forward to continuing my development at the Arms Park.
“Cardiff also have a reputation for developing talent and the progression of players from the academy right through to the senior national team is testament to that.
“Now I am just looking forward to getting on the training pitch and competing for game-time.”
Robson will fight for a place at fly-half alongside fellow new signing Tinus de Beer, Ben Thomas and academy duo Harrison James and Harri Wilde.
He is the fourth signing this summer, following de Beer, Ciaran Parker and Rhys Litterick, and head coach Matt Sherratt is pleased to add to his fly-half resources.
Sherratt said: “We are delighted have have signed Arwel for this season. He has a good skill set, will challenge the line and having regular game time has improved his in game management.
“He has played a significant amount with Cornish Pirates over the past two seasons which is a sign of a player who was willing to take himself out of his comfort zone to go to a new club and get regular game time. It shows he is driven.
“Added to that he has a connection with the region and a point to prove in the Welsh professional game. He gives us a bit more depth at 10 and has slotted in well to training.”
Spingbok loosehead joins DHL Stormers ranks
Loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka has joined the DHL Stormers squad ahead of the 2023/24 season.
The 33-year-old Springbok front row forward has made the move to Cape Town and brings considerable experience with him.
Gqoboka only took up the game at the age of 19 and within two years had already secured his first professional contract. He has accumulated over 150 senior caps since then and made his Springbok debut in 2019.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that Gqoboka’s proven track record means he will be ready to hit the ground running when the season gets underway.
“Lizo is an experienced player who would be a valuable asset for any squad in what is an important position.
“He has already settled in well here in the pre-season and we are all looking forward to seeing what he can do when the season gets underway,” he said.
Gqoboka said that having played against the DHL Stormers many times in his career, he is excited about feeling the support of the Faithful.
“This is a great team with some incredible supporters and I can’t wait to run out in the blue and white jersey and give my all.
“My family and I have felt at home right away here, my teammates and the coaches have been so welcoming and I want to repay that when I get the chance to take the field as a DHL Stormer,” he said.