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Hala'ufia joins Scarlets

Former Tonga number eight Chris Hala'ufia has signed for the Scarlets, after six years with London Irish.

The 35-year-old is head coach Simon Easterby's second number eight recruit, joining Rory Pitman from Wasps in next season's Scarlets squad.

Scarlets boss Easterby said recruiting a "ruthless number eight" will boost his pack resources next term.

"Chris has a reputation as one of the best number eights in the game and he brings with him a wealth of experience and all the attributes of a ruthless number eight," said Easterby.

"He's a strong ball carrier and runner but also has the ability to break tackles.

"The pack has shown time and time again this season that they can compete with the best but we're all very clear that we need to ensure consistency in our performances.

"Bringing in a player of Chris' ability will see us add not only strength in depth but invaluable experience.

"A player of his experience will help us continue our development as a pack and will be a great support for the younger members of the squad including young number eight Rory Pitman who joins us from Wasps."

Hala'ufia made 122 appearances, scoring 19 tries for Irish following a stint with Harlequins - but is now targeting a starting berth in west Wales.

"This is a great opportunity for myself to stake a claim in the starting line-up at the Scarlets," said the 20-cap loose-forward.

"I've had six great seasons with London Irish but I'm very much looking forward to a new challenge.

"There are some great players at the region and I'm hoping to play a strong part in the side's Pro12 and European campaigns next season."

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