Talent pair added to outside backs
The Turbos have bolstered their backline stocks in the form of a former Fijian international and a Super Rugby wing.
The side has signed Michael Tagicakibau and Junior Laloifi for the 2018 season.
Tagicakibau, 33, comes to the team with an extensive playing resume.
“I am an Auckland boy, went to Taranaki out of school and played a couple of years in the NPC. I played for Fiji. From there I went to England and spent five or six years at Saracens and then two years in Wales with the Scarlets and two years in Italy with Benetton,” he said.
Tagicakibau, nicknamed Tag, a shortened version of his last name, said he was keen to finish off his career with a stint in Manawatu.
“My fiancee is actually from Palmerston North, so I was coming back from overseas, finishing up in Italy and coming back. I got into contact with Rob Thompson and a couple of the other boys saying there could be a chance so give it a crack with the Turbos. I came in, had a few training sessions and here I am.”
Laloifi, 23, has spent the club rugby season playing for Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.
He scored two tries in the club’s victorious Hankins Shield final.
While he is an Australian schoolboys and Australian Sevens representative, Laloifi actually grew up in New Zealand.
“I am from Hawke’s Bay and did most of my schooling there. I went to Hastings Boys’ High and two years into Hastings Boys’ my family decided to go to Australia,” he said.
But it was in Australia that he made a name for himself with his express pace.
During the NRC, Australia’s equivalent to the Mitre 10 Cup, he picked up the nickname, the Prince of Pace.
Earlier this year he caught wind of a playing opportunity in Manawatu and he jumped at it.
“I was in Hong Kong at the time and my agent got in contact with me and said ‘How do you feel about playing [Mitre 10] Cup]?’,” he said.
“It is pretty much the second best comp after Super Rugby so I thought ‘Why not give it a crack against some of the best young local talent?’ I am glad to be here.”
The duo join James Tofa, Te Rangatira Waitokia and Nehe Milner-Skudder as contracted outside backs for 2018.
CLICK HERE for their video