Taulima Tautai relishing lining up with ‘animal’ McIlorum

Taulima Tautai is relishing the chance to win some silverware with Wigan, following his close season move from Wakefield Wildcats.

He is also looking forward to lining up alongside one team-mate in particular, in the form of England hooker Michael McIlorum.

Warriors coach Shaun Wane endorsed Tautai last year, by claiming that any player who could put McIlorum on his backside, as Tautai had done, was clearly a good acquisition.

Tautai himself was not aware of McIlorum’s reputation for toughness when he first tangled with him, however.

“He’s one of those players who you prefer next to you, rather than in front of you,” said the prop.

“He’s really aggressive and relentless, and that’s what you need in our football team.

“Because I’ve only been here for a short time, I didn’t really know who he was until I started watching a couple of games.

“Then I was like, ‘Oh my god, this guy’s an animal!’

“But luckily I ran over him!”

Joining Tautai at Wigan in the close season were Larne Patrick and the returning Lee Mossop. Both players add options for Shaun Wane in the front row.

Tautai is thriving on the competition for places at his new club, though.

“We’ve got a bit of size now in the front row,” he added.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me to get a position there, but that’s good for me.

“I can’t wait to put the Wigan jersey on for the first game. I’m really looking forward to playing some good footy here.

“I feel that I can become a better player here, and I can hopefully win a trophy here, so I’m really excited.”

As to what the big Sydney-born Samoan can offer to Wigan, he is in no doubt that his physicality is his biggest asset.

“Tough runs, big runs, and big defence as well,” he said.

“Waney told me when I signed that he wants to be an impact player. He wants me to come on the field and ragdoll everyone, and that’s what I intend to do.

“Hopefully the Wigan fans will be impressed.”

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