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Bristol swoop for Wasps centre Alapati Leiua

Samoa centre Alapati Leiua will join Bristol from Wasps at the end of the season.

The 28-year-old is Bristol's first signing for next term, building towards new head coach Pat Lam's arrival from Connacht in the summer.

Former Hurricanes centre Leiua recovered from two knee ligament operations last term, and has had to contend with an increasingly crowded midfield picture this year at Wasps.

"We're delighted to beat off interest from a number of clubs and capture Alapati's signing," said Bristol head coach Mark Tainton.

"He's a robust midfielder who can play in a number of positions in the backline. He's versatile, with excellent hands and acceleration.

"Alapati was a standout performer for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby and made a similar impact in his first season with Wasps - he will be a fantastic addition to the Bristol Rugby squad."

New additions Kurtley Beale and Kyle Eastmond, plus Jimmy Gopperth often operating at centre, have limited Leiua's chances at Wasps this term.

The 11-cap Samoa centre admitted he was delighted to tie up his impending Bristol move.

Bristol remain locked in a relegation scrap with Worcester Warriors, though new boss Lam has already insisted he will take the helm even if the club do face the drop.

"I'm hugely excited about the prospect of joining Bristol Rugby, an ambitious club with a passionate supporter base," said Leiua.

"When I spoke to the club about their vision going forward and the tight-knit culture that they are striving to create, it was an easy decision for me to make.

"There's something special happening at Bristol and I am looking forward to being a part of that journey. For the remainder of the campaign, I'm committed to Wasps and helping the team achieve their goals."

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