Former Cook Islands rugby league player Tepai Moeroa has been named as one of the 10 best buys of the Super Rugby off-season.
Moeroa is making a switch back to union after spending six years paying league. He will feature for the NSW Waratahs in the upcoming Super Rugby season after signing a two year contract with them in 2019.
With the competition kicking off this month, Fox Sports says Australian fans will have “some exciting names to watch strut their stuff in new kit”.
Among them is the 24 year old former Parramatta Eels forward, who played for the Cook Islands in the World Cup Nines in October.
The others are Beauden Barrett (Blues), James O’Connor (Reds), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Frank Lomani (Rebels), Morne Steyn (Bulls), Henry Speight (Reds), Ben Te’o (Sunwolves), Solomone Kata (Brumbies) and Tyrel Lomax (Hurricanes).
According to NSW general manager of rugby Tim Rapp, “Tepai is a phenomenal athlete and it’s no secret we’ve been interested in getting him back to rugby for a long time.
“This is a great signing for us, we think Tepai has all the attributes to excel at Super Rugby level and given his previous experience in the game he’s in a great position to hit the ground running — we can’t wait to have him on board.”
In an earlier interview with AAP, Moeroa, who is originally from Arorangi, said he was looking to play in the centres for the Waratahs.
The former Australian Schoolboys rep, who played 112 games in six seasons for the Eels, featured in the front and second rows.
As a schoolboy, Moeroa played union in the backs.
“I’ve been training out there but you never know what happens, (if I) get pushed into flanker one game, but I’ve been training in the centre and it’s been going well,” Moeroa told AAP.
“You don’t understand how technical it actually is to play the forwards in union, so there’s a lot more to the game that I’d have to pick up and I’d have to learn.
“I’m doing well in the backs at the moment, so I think we’ll stick to that for now.”
Moeroa will be hoping to make his Waratahs debut in their first Super Rugby game away to defending champions the Crusaders on February 1.