Tongan international Vailanu to join Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors have added to the club’s strength in depth in the back row as preparations continue for the new season, after securing the signature of Tongan international number eight Sione Vailanu ahead of the 2022/23 campaign subject to medical and visa.
The 27-year-old joins from English Premiership side Worcester Warriors, where his barnstorming brand of ball-carrying has made him a presence to be feared by opposition defences.
Standing at 6ft 1in, Vailanu initially turned heads during a four-year stint at Asahi University in Japan, proving a standout 7s player and representing Samurai RFC at the 2017 Hong Kong 10s.
His performances at that tournament earned him a short-term contract with Saracens, with the Tongan going on to make 10 appearances for the European heavyweights before joining Wasps on a two-year deal in 2019.
A powerful presence at the base of the scrum, Vailanu immediately proved a hit with the Wasps faithful, making 31 appearances in all competitions – including turning out against Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup – and helping his side reach the Premiership final in 2020.
After making the switch to Sixways in the summer of 2021, the Tongan has once again proven himself to be an explosive figure with ball in hand; a highlight-reel worthy try in victory over Bristol Bears last month had pundits purring with approval, a score which proved decisive for the Warriors.
First capped for Tonga against Japan in 2017, Vailanu made a memorable impression on his first start for the Ikale Tahi, picking off an interception and running in a try from 65 metres against Wales at the Principality Stadium in November 2018.
To date he has earned 10 caps for his country, most recently in defeat to Romania in November 2021.
“I had multiple opportunities for next season in different countries but when the opportunity arose to join Glasgow, I didn’t think twice about it,” Vailanu told glasgowwarriors.org following the announcement.
“Glasgow has a rich tradition of success and with Danny [Wilson] as Head Coach and the players that we currently have, I have no doubts that tradition will continue next season and beyond.
“I cannot wait to get started and meet our fans at Scotstoun!”
Head Coach Wilson welcomed the signing, adding: ““We’re really pleased to secure Sione’s signature ahead of next season.
“He’s a really powerful carrier who can give us real go-forward with ball in hand. We’ve been looking to add to our options in the back-row, and he adds to the talent that we already have in that area. It’s another step forward in building depth in our squad.
“His recent form has been excellent for Worcester, including winning Man of the Match against Wasps, and we look forward to welcoming him to Scotstoun this summer.”
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