Image Copyright: Hull FC Super League Ltd.
HULL FC CONFIRM SIGNING OF SETAIMATA SA
By Tom Stewart | 21/05/2014
Hull FC have strengthened their squad with the capture of dual code rugby international Setaimata Sa from rugby union club, London Irish, until the end of 2015.
The Black and Whites have finally snared their man in a cross code switch that will see the 6ft 3in centre, come back row forward, return to the sport where he made his name.
The 26-year-old began his career in the NRL representing Sydney Roosters, before moving to Super League to join the Catalan Dragons.
Having progressed as a junior in New Zealand, he soon enjoyed full representative honours too playing for both Samoa and New Zealand, lifting the World Cup with the latter nation in 2008, before being selected for the Exiles in International Origin.
Speaking to hullfc.com, Sa said, "I am pleased it has finally been announced and really looking forward to getting back playing rugby league, the game where my career started, and can't wait to put on the Hull FC shirt.
"The way Motu Tony [Football Manager] spoke to me about where the club wanted to be in the next few years and also Lee Radford's [Head Coach] passion for the game, I found it a very interesting prospect. I know from the past how passionate the fans are here and how big this club is."
He added, "There is without doubt a lot of talent here. Ben Crooks is a good young player competing for a centre spot and Fetuli [Talanoa] coming over was a good signing, so there is a lot of competition and that is only going to be good for myself and the other boys too."
Having built his career at centre and in the back row, as well as even a brief run at stand-off, Sa has delivered a good try scoring return in Super League of 24 tries in 69 matches, as well as 5 tries in 8 international appearances.
A cult figure in France, he became a firm fans favourite with his energetic and committed no-nonsense approach to the game, which saw him plucked by London Irish in rugby union following a glowing recommendation from former New South Wales State of Origin coach, Ricky Stuart.
However, with rugby league his first love and tempted by an offer from Hull FC head coach Lee Radford, plus further persuasion from former Super League team mates and friends, such as Saints' Iosia Soliola, Sa has made the move to East Yorkshire to the delight of the Black and Whites.
"Setaimata is a great signing for us. He is exactly the calibre of player we should be bringing into this club and a significant move in terms of our recruitment process," said Radford.
"He is a New Zealand international, a World Cup winner, a Challenge Cup Finalist with Catalans and has appeared in the Exiles squads, that says it all.
"He is a player that can come straight into our side and make a significant improvement to our team. He has a fantastic character and temperament and whilst he is a good bloke off the field, he is a fierce competitor on it which is what we want."
He added, "He was missing rugby league and is really keen to make his mark at Hull FC, which is very pleasing. The first thing he said when he signed was he couldn't wait to play in a Hull derby. That is exactly what you want to hear as a coach."
Sa will be available for selection this weekend, having trained with his new teammates for the first time this week.
Hull FC's squad for Friday's Super League clash against Leeds Rhinos will be named later today.
If you are interested in sponsoring Sa, contact Sarah McAllister on 01482 304 964.