NRL club swoop for ex-Super Rugby speedster as New Zealander makes cross-code switch: ‘A very explosive athlete’

Drew Darbyshire
Solomon Alaimalo NRL Alamy

Solomon Alaimalo will play in the NRL in 2024 - Alamy

NRL club Wests Tigers have welcomed former Super Rugby speedster Solomon Alaimalo to their top 30 squad for the 2024 campaign.

The 27-year-old outside-back has crossed codes from union to league after playing a couple of seasons with the Waikato Chiefs in Super Rugby, and more recently with Canterbury in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.

Auckland-born Alaimalo arrived in Sydney on Sunday evening and had his first training session with his new Wests Tigers team-mates on Monday.

On signing Alaimalo, Tigers coach Benji Marshall said: “We’re very excited to have Solomon join the club.

“He is a very explosive athlete with great speed, power and agility.

“He will also add leadership and experience to our group, and he is a man of great character.”

Alaimalo was named Rookie of the Year in his breakthrough season with the Chiefs back in 2017 after playing his junior rugby for Canterbury.

On joining the Tigers, he said: “It’s been a really nice welcome from everyone here at Wests Tigers from the moment I touched down last night.

“This place (the Zurich Centre) is amazing and I can’t wait to settle in and get stuck into pre-season training.

“There are a lot of guys in the squad who are from back home, including Benji, so that probably will make it even easier for me to adjust to my new home here at Wests Tigers.”

Solomon Alaimalo the latest rugby union player to make cross-code switch

Alaimalo is the latest player to make the switch from union to league, with Sydney Roosters last week announcing the signing of Australia Rugby star Mark Nawaqanitawase on a two-year contract from 2025 from the New South Wales Waratahs.

The 23-year-old has won 11 caps for the Wallabies since making his international debut last year, representing his country in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Roosters head of recruitment Daniel Anderson said: “We’re delighted to have secured Mark’s services and look forward to welcoming him to our club in 2025.

“In the meantime, we wish him all the best for a successful 2024 in rugby union.”

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