Lauaki dying to ‘rip in’

Raring to go

Raring to go

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TONGAN wrecking ball Epalahame Lauaki can not wait to rip into Super League defences next season.

The former Hull FC forward has spent the past few weeks training with his new team-mates and has impressed coaches with his all-action approach.

He was recruited to add some punch to Shaun Wane’s pack in 2012 and already feels at home in his new surroundings.

The 28-year-old told the Observer: “It’s all gone really well so far. The training’s been tough, which is what we want.

“I’ve settled in well, I already knew George Carmont from back home but all the boys have been great.

“Wigan’s a club with an incredible amount of history, it’s a massive club. You mention Wigan back home and everyone has heard of them, so when I got the chance to come here I jumped at it. It’s a great opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get out there and start playing.”

Lauaki’s arrival along with promising Welsh forwards Ben Flower and Gil Dudson, plus the return of Test stars Stuart Fielden and Gareth Hock from injury and suspension respectively, promises to create a formidable and ferocious six-pack.

“I wouldn’t mind playing in the back-row, but I can play prop too, so I don’t really mind,” added Lauaki.

Coach Wane says he has slotted in to the senior squad well.

“He’s been great, like they all have,” said Wane. “The training has been tough, there have been a lot of long days, but everyone is hungry to work. The lads’ attitude has been fantastic.”

Such enthusiasm has been underlined by the decision of Dudson and Flower to report for training in the next few days, earlier than required following Four Nations duty with Wales.

“They’re keen to get started, which is great,” added Wane. “I was impressed with how they played in the Four Nations and I’m excited about making them even better.” Promising Welsh centre Rhodri Lloyd has also joined the club and Wigan are still planning one more signing – little-known Kiwi centre Anthony Gelling – before the squad jets off for a pre-season training camp in Florida next month.

But 21-year-old three-quarter Stefan Marsh will not be with that touring party after he today joined Super League newcomers Widnes – coached by Wigan legend Denis Betts – on a one-year loan deal.

Wane said: “This is a good opportunity for Stefan to gain some valuable first-team experience.”