No concerns for Leeds Rhinos as Zane Tetevano and King Vuniyayawa await visas - Sinfield says imports are fit and ready to go
Overseas signings Zane Tetevano and King Vuniyayawa will be in good shape and ready to go when they arrive at Leeds, Rhinos’ director of rugby Kevin Sinfield says.
Rhinos signed Tetevano - a current New Zealand Test prop - from Penrith Panthers on a three-year contract at Christmas.
Fijian World Cup hopeful Vuniyayawa penned a 12-month deal last weekend, after making his NRL debut for New Zealand Warriors in 2020. Both players are now awaiting a visa before travelling to England.
Rhinos are in their third week of pre-season training, but the start of Betfred Super League was last week pushed back a fortnight to March 25.
Tetevano, who has played in two of the last three NRL Grand Finals and featured three times for the Kiwis in 2019, is training with his former club Penrith to keep fit while he waits for his paperwork to be completed.
Sinfield is in regular contact with Tetevano and said the wait for clearance is usual.
“He’s just going through the visa process,” he said. “He’s happy, we are happy and he is fit and good to go."
The deal to sign fellow forward Vuniyayawa was completed last Friday and he is now beginning the same process.
Sinfield added: “We are on it, we are working through it with the relevant authorities and we will let it run its course.
“It is not something you can turn around in 24 hours.”
Arrivals to the UK must provide proof of a negative test for coronavirus and self-isolate for 10 days. Sinfield stressed once visas have been granted, the players will join the squad “as soon as it is safe to do so”.
Tetevano and Vuniyayawa are Rhinos’ only new signings since the end of last season, though Bodene Thompson, who was on loan from Toronto Wolfpack, is beginning a two-year contract. Vuniyayawa has been awarded squad No 19 which was left vacant for a new signing earlier this month.
Sinfield was non-committal when asked if more recruitment is possible.
He said: “We are constantly monitoring the squad.
“Covid is going to play a huge part this year.”
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.