Castleford sign Hauraki from Rhinos

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CASTLEFORD Tigers have added a seventh new signing for next season with second rower Weller Hauraki (pictured) joining from Leeds Rhinos.

Hauraki, 27, who the Tigers want to team up again with his distant cousin Rangi Chase, has put pen to paper on a two year-deal.

He started his career in the NRL when he was signed with the Parramatta Eels as a teenager from the Dannevirke Tigers, where he played with current Cas stand-off Chase. He made his first team debut for the Eels in 2007 and went on to make 32 appearances in three seasons before joining Crusaders in Super League where he was a big hit as they reached the play-offs.

The following year Hauraki signed for the Rhinos and picked up a Grand Final winners ring as well as appearing in the Challenge Cup final. He has also represented New Zealand Maori on a number of occasions, including their game against England in 2010.

Tigers head coach Ian Millward said: “I was on the lookout for a second rower with a strong presence both on and off the field and I believe Weller offers the right qualities to fulfil this role.

“His experience and exceptional attacking qualities will provide us with great stability and composure on the field as well as a role model for the younger, less-experienced players on the team. He is a tough competitor and with his boxing background, I expect him to be a leading figure in training too. He ultimately gives us an overall package that is going to add a lot to the side next season.”

Hauraki is Castleford’s seventh signing for next year after Lee Gilmour, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster, Jamie Ellis, Jordan Tansey and Justin Carney.

Millward, meanwhile, has admitted that Cas have fielded interest in star player Chase from an Australian club, but he wants to plan for next season with the England international stand-off in his team.