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Wasps snap up Tongan powerhouse


Wasps level transfer score with Saracens by landing Billy Vunipola's 19 stone protege

Dai Young has hailed his capture from Saracens of an 18-and-a-half stone Tongan powerhouse who has been developing under the watchful eye of Billy Vunipola.  

The Wasps boss has been busy in the market trying to bolster his squad for next season and having lost full-back Elliot Daly to the reigning Premiership champions earlier this month, he has managed to entice a potentially valuable asset to Coventry from the Londoners.    

A try-scorer for Tonga in their November clash with Wales, Sione Vailanu Junior has been hailed as a Vunipola lookalike. Snapped up by Saracens 18 months ago, the 262lb operator’s game-time under Mark McCall hasn’t amounted to all that much so far due to the level of competition in the Saracens back row. 

He has shown glimpses off his potential, though, when scoring a try hat-trick during a pre-season friendly against Bedford, while he was also a scorer in the club’s recent Premiership Cup semi-final win over Worcester. 

However, the 24-year-old, who spent some time on the Japanese sevens circuit before arriving in England and checks in at just 24lbs lighter than Vunipola, will now make the midlands his home next season.  

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“Sione is a strong athlete who will no doubt help us get over the gainline with his strong ball-carrying,” enthused Young, who is set to lose the likes of Nathan Hughes to World Cup duty in the early part of next season.  

“He has international experience and he is still very young, so we can’t wait to get him on board and try and help him realise his potential in a very competitive back row.”

Vailanu said: “I’m looking forward to testing myself in a new environment at a new club. “Wasps have real pedigree and the way in which they play the game excites me. I’m looking forward to making the move to the Midlands and can’t wait to get started.”

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Wasps level transfer score with Saracens by landing Billy Vunipola's 19 stone protege