Warrington Wolves sign Papua New Guinea star as Sam Burgess makes first recruit as head coach

Drew Darbyshire
Rodrick Tai Papua New Guinea Warrington Wolves Alamy

Rodrick Tai is set to make his Warrington debut

Sam Burgess has made his first signing as Warrington Wolves head coach in the shape of Papua New Guinea international Rodrick Tai.

The 24-year-old centre has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with Warrington from 2024, with the option of a further year in the club’s favour.

Mount Hagen-born Tai made his international debut for Papua New Guinea last year, featuring in all four of their World Cup matches, including their quarter-final defeat to England.

Tai has experience of playing in the Queensland Cup with the PNG Hunters and has spent time this season in an NRL environment with the Dolphins.

On joining Warrington, Tai said: “I’m very excited. It’s a huge move for me to be joining a great club in Warrington.

“Sam (Burgess) called me and said there’s an opportunity. Even him calling was huge for me! I’m looking forward now to giving my all in pre-season, working hard and playing my part next year.

“During the World Cup with PNG we stayed in Warrington so there’ll be some familiarities there for me. It was a great experience for us Kumuls and myself and my family can’t wait to come back over to the town.”


Sam Burgess ‘excited’ over Warrington’s new signing Rodrick Tai

Tai will become the third Papua New Guinea international to have played for Warrington, following in the footsteps of John Wilshere and Tom O’Reilly.

The Kumuls centre actually played at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in last year’s World Cup, scoring two tries in a 32-16 win over the Cook Islands in the group stages.

Incoming Warrington head coach Sam Burgess said: “I’m very excited that Rodrick is joining us at Warrington.

“He has been fantastic in the Queensland Cup this year and also when representing PNG in recent years.”

Wire director of rugby Gary Chambers added: “With Rodrick we’ve got an explosive and dynamic centre who can break lines and is a threat with the ball.

“He’s played at international level and to get someone of his calibre coming to us at the right age is going to add the right value to what we’re building. He’s an exciting proposition for us.”

Tai becomes Warrington’s second new signing for 2024, with Newcastle Knights forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon having already signed a three-year deal with the Wolves from next season.

READ NEXT: Warrington Wolves prop sidelined for lengthy spell, winger close to returning