Saints have announced Australian international prop Salesi Ma’afu will be joining the club ahead of the next season.
Ma’afu is rated as one of the top props in Australia.
The 6ft, 126kg, tight-head has 14 Wallaby caps to his name, along with Australia A and Barbarian representative honours.
Born in Sydney, Ma’afu – whose brother Campese is also an international prop – has built up extensive Super Rugby experience with the Brumbies and latterly Western Force.
His international debut came in 2010, and after fighting back from a serious arm injury he helped Australia to third place in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, including starting the bronze medal match with Wales.
Unfortunately a broken arm sustained during the latter stages of the Force’s 2012 Super Rugby campaign meant that Ma’afu missed the Rugby Championship and November tour, but he starts 2013 as part of the Wallabies’ training squad.
However later in the year Ma’afu will be swapping Subiaco for the Saints, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the 29-year-old has the ability to make a big impact on Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“We have been impressed by what we have seen from Salesi,” Mallinder commented.
“He has built up a good reputation as one of the top props in Australia and has been a big part of the Wallabies’ recent improvements in the set piece.
“Salesi will add a great deal to our group of props and the squad in general going into next season, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to Franklin’s Gardens later in the year.”