Hull FC have confirmed the signing of versatile NRL forward Ligi Sao on an initial two-year deal from the start of the 2020 season!
Adding to some already impressive recruitment for the Black & Whites for the new Betfred Super League campaign, Samoan international Sao is the latest big name to put pen to paper and at the KCOM Stadium, with the club once again fighting off interest from teams on both sides of the world.
The 26-year old is a powerful and mobile forward who can play across the pack, having featured at prop, back row and loose forward for Manly Sea Eagles and his current club New Zealand Warriors.
Sao will join up with fellow NRL recruits Mahe Fonua, Manu Ma’u and Tevita Satae who have already confirmed their place within Lee Radford’s squad for 2020, alongside home-based recruits Adam Swift, Josh Jones and Jordan Johnstone.
Speaking on his decision to join the club, Sao said: “I’m pretty excited to be heading over to Super League and to Hull FC. I know the club have been going pretty well over the past few years so I’m really pleased to be joining a positive environment which that success has created.
“As a Rugby League player in Australia, a lot of players who make the move to Super League do so at the back end of their career, but I saw this as a big opportunity for me while I’m in the prime of my career to show what I’m about.”
He continued: “I’m aware of how impressive the club have been in recent years - the boys are going pretty well this season and obviously there was the two Challenge Cups a few years back, so for me it was a chance to push myself to the next level. You can’t turn down a big club and a big chance like this.
“My family are really excited to move to the UK too. We’ve loved our time in New Zealand but it’s an exciting time for them too to see the other side of the world.”
The Auckland-born forward joined the Warriors as a junior in 2012, helping their Toyota Cup side to an impressive second-place finish, alongside current Hull star Carlos Tuimavave.
His impressive performances for the U20s saw him snapped up by Manly where he made his NRL debut, before returning to the Warriors three years later to play under former Hull FC cup winner Stephen Kearney.
Sao’s contribution for the Warriors has caught the eye of Hull’s recruitment team, having averaged over 80 metres a game in the NRL and over 145 metres a game in the NSW Cup.
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford commented: “Like all our new recruits, Ligi fits the bill in terms of his character and attitude which was a big factor in our recruitment this year.
“I know James has spent a lot of time speaking to all our 2020 signings, Ligi in particular, and he like everyone we have spoken to about him have all sung his praises.”