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Exeter sign 'explosive, dangerous, quality player' Solomone Kata

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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Exeter have made Tonga international Solomone Kata their fifth signing ahead of the 2022/23 season, the 27-year-old agreeing to a one-year deal that will see him involved at Sandy Park along with fellow recruits Jack Dunne and Rory O’Loughlin of Leinster and South Africans Aidon Davis and Ruben van Heerden.

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The back will arrive in the Gallagher Premiership following a Super Rugby Pacific season with Moana Pasifika. Born in Neiafu in Tonga, he moved to New Zealand in 2011 to take up a rugby scholarship at Sacred Heart College in Auckland.

He then linked with NRL sides, the New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm, before exiting league for union and joining the Brumbies where he spent two seasons before switching to Moana and now onto Exeter.

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“It’s a big move for me and my family,” said Kata, the dual-code Tonga international ahead of the new season September 10 Exeter opener at home to champions Leicester. “Coming in today, the boys have been very welcoming and I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I have watched a few games and I know it’s really physical here in the UK. I like that, it plays to my strengths. I don’t have a fancy step or anything like that, I just like to go through people and enjoy the contact. Apart from that, I don’t know too much more about what to expect.”

Exeter boss Rob Baxter added: “He is explosive, he’s dangerous and a quality player. Obviously, he has just got here so he will take a few days to get up to speed, but you can tell by meeting him that he is already settling in well to the group and will give us those options we need in midfield.

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“It’s no secret that Ollie Devoto is still some way away from returning, Henry (Slade) and Tom (Hendrickson) are still recovering from operations, so we were looking a bit thin in that area. That said, when a guy of Sol’s quality comes onto the market, we had a good look at him, we liked what we saw and we have brought him here. It’s over to him now to get on the field and show us what he can do.

“Talking to him, you get that feeling that he is up for a new challenge. He is here now and he is ready to go. In an ideal world, we would have liked to have signed him for more than a year, but he said ‘I’ll take the year, I’ll take my chance’ because he does think he will take off over here. We will see what happens then.

“Personally, I quite like that because he is challenging himself to come over here and go really well. Already I’m looking forward to seeing him on the field because I do believe he will offer us something a bit different.”

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