Castleford Tigers have signed prop Samy Kibula from Championship side Batley Bulldogs on a one-year deal for 2024, with the option of a further year.
The 24-year-old forward has spent the 2023 campaign playing under now Castleford head coach Craig Lingard at Batley, making 19 appearances for the Bulldogs, including their 1895 Cup final defeat at Wembley.
Kibula, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, came through the academy at Wigan. He made his first team debut for the Warriors in 2018.
The former Leigh Miners Rangers junior then spent the 2020 season with Warrington, playing two games for the Wolves.
Kibula has spent the last two seasons in the Championship with Bradford Bulls and Batley, but he will return to a full-time environment ahead of next season with Castleford.
On signing for the Tigers, Kibula said: “I’m very excited. It’s been a tough two years for me since my injury at Newcastle, but my aim was always to get back to full-time rugby. It’s come sooner than I thought so I’m really happy and really pleased, I can’t wait to get started.
“I had a really good year with Linners (Craig Lingard) last year. We got on really well and he trusted me. He brought the best rugby out in me so I’m buzzing to have another year under him.
“I’m a tough middle. I bring big carries and tackles. I’ve got some good skills that I bring to the table like offloads and things so I’ll be here to entertain the fans, that’s my aim.
“I’ve always wanted to be back in a full-time environment since I left Warrington. Last year was a really good year for me.
“This is now an exciting time for me and now I have to knuckle down and prepare for the first game to give myself the opportunity to be in the team.”
Samy Kibula ‘could be a really good pick up for us’, says Castleford Tigers coach
Castleford say they are ‘exploring’ a possible dual-registration agreement with Batley for 2024 – but this has yet to be finalised.
Lingard says he is pleased to bring Kibula to the Tigers, and says he could prove to be a handy signing for his side.
He said: “I’m pleased that he’s joining us. He’s a big unit, he’s got a strong carry in him. He can play as well for a big man. He can play away from the line too, he has a good offload in is repertoire.
“He’s got a lot of development to come. He burst on to the scene a few years ago at Wigan and people expected big things from him.
“He’s had a few seasons in the Championship and last season he really developed at Batley and turned out to be a standout player there.
“The potential that he’s got, he could be a really good pick up for us.”