Yorkshire Carnegie have strengthened their front row with the signing of Tongan international tight head prop Sione Faletau, 28, from Counties Manukau in New Zealand.
The prop has three Test caps, all gained last summer after making his debut against Fiji in June.
He joined Counties Manukau last season from Patumahoe and has previously played at Canterbury.
He has signed with Yorkshire Carnegie until the end of the current Greene King IPA Championship season. He will arrive in England this weekend and will be available for selection for next Saturday’s trip to Bedford in the British & Irish Cup.
Faletau will become the fifth Tongan international to play for the club going back to Sateki Tuipulotu back in 1996. Tuipulotu made 78 appearances for Leeds and remains the club’s record ever points scorer with 773 points.
He was capped 20 times for Tonga. Back row Hese Fakatou made 12 appearances in the 1999-2000 season having gained five caps for his country whilst hooker Vili Ma’asi spent three seasons at Headingley Carnegie. He made 32 appearances for Tonga and played 64 appearances for the club.
Finally, prop Halani Aulika made eight appearances for Carnegie in the 2011-12 season before joining London Irish.
Head coach Bryan Redpath said: “We are delighted to have secured an experienced player like Sione Faletau.
He will add to our current front row options and provide competition for our other tight head props at the club.
It is important that we look to strengthen the squad when we can for the second half of the season as we look to build on the good work we have already done so far.”