Gadwin Springer, who is thought to be the first South American to appear in Super League, is excited at the prospect of playing his rugby league in England after linking up with Castleford.
The 22-year-old prop forward, who was born in French Guiana, has joined the Tigers on a two-and-a-half year deal from Catalans Dragons.
Springer did not discover rugby league until he moved from South America to Toulouse 10 years ago but represented France at youth level and was snapped up by the Dragons from feeder club St Esteve two years ago.
“When my agent told me Cas were interested in me, I was happy because I know Cas is a good team,” said Springer. “I’m excited.
“I always thought if I had a chance to come to England and play I would like to do it. The coach was not very happy but I told him I wanted to come here for the experience.”
Springer made just three substitute appearances in Super League for the Catalans but one of them was against Castleford and he did enough to catch the eye of coach Daryl Powell.
“We’re pretty excited about Gadwin,” Powell said. “I’ve seen him play a few times off the bench for Catalans this year and he’s a handful.
“I’m fully expecting him to get better. He’s young and physically he’s a good specimen.
“It’s ideal that he’s come over now. He can get settled in and get some game time under his belt.
“We’ll see how quickly he fits into what we do.
“We don’t have a game next week so we can have a good look at Gadwin and he can have a look at us.
Springer is the second player to leave the Dragons recently, following Mathias Pala’s move to Championship leaders Leigh while former Catalans forwards Kevin Larroyer and Mickael Simon are playing in Super League with Hull KR and Wakefield respectively.
Powell said: “I think it’s good for the French game that there’s players playing over here and experiencing a slightly different culture and the way the game is played in different clubs.”
Meanwhile, Powell welcomes back winger Justin Carney and prop forward Matt Cook for the visit of leaders St Helens on Thursday.
Both players have been out for two months, Carney with a dislocated elbow and Cook with an ankle injury, and Powell is delighted with the added competition for places.
“We’ve got some selection issues, which has changed a little bit,” he said. “A couple of games ago we only had 19 players.
“Justin is one of our elite players and he was playing outstanding well before he got his injury.
“It’s great to have back and hopefully he can kick on from where he finished.”
St Helens are also boosted by the return of two long-term injury victims. Scrum-half Luke Walsh is set for his return after missing the last five matches following ankle surgery while Greenwood has been out since April with a leg injury.