Pisi and Tuala help Saints sign Tongan back Tuitavake

Ken Pisi knows Nafi Tuitavake from their time at North Harbour (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Ken Pisi knows Nafi Tuitavake from their time at North Harbour (picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Saints have made their second signing of the week, snapping up Narbonne’s Nafi Tuitavake.

The Tongan international follows Fiji lock Api Ratuniyarawa, who moved to Franklin’s Gardens from Agen on Monday.

Tuitavake can play at centre and on the wing and he is a graduate of the same 2009 IRB Junior World Championships-winning All Blacks team as Ken Pisi and Aaron Cruden.

The 27-year-old was a regular for the Crusaders in Super Rugby for two years and North Harbour in the ITM Cup for close to a decade.

And Saints boss Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing Tuitavake perform in black, green and gold.

“We have been really impressed with what we have seen of Nafi,” Mallinder said.

“He has performed on lots of big stages from Super Rugby and New Zealand Sevens to international rugby and we think his ability and experience from these will further enhance our squad.

“He is an exciting talent who has all the attributes to be a success here and we look forward to welcoming him to Northampton.”

Tuitavake was given recommendations by current Saints players Ken Pisi and Ahsee Tuala.

And the new man said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Narbonne, but the opportunity to join Northampton was one I could not resist.

“They are a world-renowned club with some amazing players and I can’t wait to get started.

“I know Ace Tuala very well and Ken Pisi from our time at North Harbour and they have nothing but good things to say about Saints.

“I am very grateful to Narbonne president Bernard Archilla for allowing me to take this opportunity and look forward to meeting my new team-mates.”