Tigers Confirm Guttenbeil and Higgins

Castleford Tigers are delighted to confirm that New Zealand test star Awen Guttenbeil has agreed to join the club on a 2-year contract.

The Kiwi back row originally agreed a Super League deal, which became void following the clubs relegation, but the Tigers have been in lengthy discussions with him since their relegation and he has agreed to commit to the club in a duel role as both a player and a member of the coaching team. Guttenbeil has spent the past 10 years with the New Zealand Warriors, making 170 NRL appearances. He has made 10 appearances for New Zealand and is a member of their current Tri-Nations squad.

CEO Richard Wright said: "After he initially agreed to join us we have kept in regular contact with Awen and I know that he was bitterly disappointed with our relegation. However we have continued to talk to him and he has bought into our ambition and vision and wanted to help us achieve our goals."

Coach Terry Matterson said: "Awen is a tremendous acquisition for us. He will give us a strong leader in the pack having a tremendous amount of experience at the very highest level. He will also be joining me as part of the coaching team and again he has a lot of knowledge to pass on to our younger players and I'm sure that he will command a lot of respect both on and off the park. I believe that his capture is a real statement of our intent."

Prop forward Liam Higgins has also confirmed that he is committed to the Tigers for the 2007 campaign.

The Hull prop signed a deal with the Tigers a couple of months back but he did have a 'get-out' clause in the event of Castleford being relegated. However, although that eventuality has happened, Liam has opted to commit to the deal and is looking forward to the challenge of helping to take the Tigers back into the top flight.

Higgins said: "When I signed for Cas I did keep an option open in case they were relegated. That was a disappointment but after talking to Terry Matterson and looking at the squad that he is putting together, I can only see a very positive future for the club and I'm very happy to commit to the Tigers and looking forward to the challenge of getting the club back into Super League."

Coach Terry Matterson said: "It's great that Liam has chosen to come to the Tigers even though he did have other options following our relegation. I think it shows that players still perceive us as a club with a bright future and one that will be pushing very hard for a quick return to the top flight. And as the squad grows I'm sure that others will take that view. "Liam has a very good work ethic and I believe that he will help give our pack a lot of go-forward next year."

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