NRL prop Ava Seumanufagai returns to Super League for 2023

Drew Darbyshire
Ava Seumanufagai NRL Leigh PA

Photo: Dan Himbrecht/AAP/PA Images

Leigh have bolstered their pack with the addition of former Leeds prop Ava Seumanufagai on a one-year deal for the 2023 season.

The 31-year-old was out of contract after leaving NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs at the end of last season.

Seumanufagai spent two seasons in Super League with Leeds between 2019-20, making 32 appearances. He helped the Rhinos win the Challenge Cup behind closed doors at Wembley in 2020.

The New Zealand-born powerhouse has spent nine seasons in the NRL with Wests Tigers, Cronulla Sharks and the Bulldogs, playing almost 150 first grade games.

Ava Seumanufagai excited for Leigh opportunity

Seumanufagai is expected to link up with his new Leigh team-mates later next week.

Leigh head of rugby Chris Chester said: “Ava is a great addition to an already strong group and by recruiting a player of this quality in a key position we have used that vacant quota spot wisely.”

Seumanufagai said: “I’m really excited to be given the opportunity to join the Leigh Leopards; and be back in the Super League.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the boys and ripping in for 2023.”

The Leopards have a new leader

John Asiata Leigh Leopards News Images
Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

NRL Grand Final winner John Asiata has been appointed as Leigh captain following the club’s promotion back to Super League.

The 29-year-old forward linked up with Leigh ahead of last season and was a star performer in the Championship.

Asiata, who won the NRL Premiership with North Queensland Cowboys in 2015, played 31 games for Leigh in 2022, helping them clinch promotion back to Super League.

The former Samoa and Tonga international takes over the captaincy role from Joe Mellor and Adam Sidlow. Mellor remains at the club for this season, whilst Sidlow has departed for Salford.

Asiata said: “First of all I just want to say all glory to God for the opportunity I have to captain this squad in 2023.

“I am very excited for what is ahead. I’m very excited to lead the boys out each and every week. I’m honoured and privileged to be given this role to lead the boys and to be the leader in the team.

“I am thankful to the staff and players for selecting me to be their leader. I won’t let you down.

“To the fans, I’m very excited to see you all down at the Leigh Sports Village. The year starts tomorrow and I can’t wait to rip in with the boys; and put in everything we’ve trained for over pre-season into practice. I can’t wait to get on the field and represent.”

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