Castleford Tigers step up forward hunt with Leigh Leopards man identified

Aaron Bower
Ben Nakubuwai Leigh Leopards Adrian Lam SWpix

Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Castleford Tigers are stepping up their search for a forward to boost their depleted pack – as Love Rugby League understands Leigh Leopards prop Ben Nakubuwai is among those under consideration.

The Tigers are active in the transfer market and are keen to strengthen a number of positions following a disappointing start to the season. League Express revealed on Monday how a deal to bring Hull KR winger Louis Senior to the club on loan alongside brother Innes is one deal in the pipeline.

And Love Rugby League can reveal the Tigers are also in contact with clubs about potential forwards. They are bracing themselves to be without Sylvester Namo for an extended period, after he was hit with a Grade F charge following a tackle on Wigan’s Willie Isa during their Challenge Cup defeat to the Warriors on Saturday.

Namo would be the latest in a lengthening line of absentees, with a number of key forwards among them. And Nakubuwai has been identified as a player of interest, Love Rugby League has been told.

Nakubuwai has appeared in all-but one of Leigh’s league and cup fixtures this season, but with a number of key forwards either now fully fit or closing in on a return to full fitness, his opportunities could become limited in the weeks ahead.

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Tom Amone returned in the Challenge Cup tie at Hull KR on Saturday afternoon, while captain John Asiata is also set to return in the next couple of weeks. That may leave the door ajar for Castleford to strike up a deal to sign Nakubuwai: though their own quota situation has to be taken into consideration.

They currently have no free quota spots and would subsequently have to release an existing overseas player to sign Nakubuwai. But he is a player the Tigers have held conversations about, and would provide them with a significant boost following a disappointing start to the 2024 campaign.

Any move for Nakubuwai could have significant ramifications for Leigh, too. They are still keen to sign Newcastle Knights outside back David Armstrong but are full on their quota – meaning an exit for Nakubuwai would then make that move much more likely to materialise.

But there are a number of sticking points before anything can be signed off.

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