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Leicester Tigers back row star Sione Kalamafoni to leave for PRO14

THE Scarlets look set to strengthen their pack with the signing of Tongan international Sione Kalamafoni from Leicester Tigers.

Brad Mooar’s side are leading the race to land the powerful No.8 who is among the top ball carriers in the Gallagher Premiership.

Scarlets will be hoping the 31-year-old has the same impact in Llanelli as he did at Welford Road.

In his first season since moving from Gloucester in the summer of 2018 he made more first team appearances than any of his Leicester team-mates.

He also made more metres than any other player in the Premiership.

The back-row is expected to be on the sidelines for the next three months after being stood down by a neurologist after showing signs of concussion and Scarlets will hope he will be back fully fit for the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Kalamafoni has won 37 caps for Tonga and has represented his homeland in three Rugby World Cups after making his debut in 2007. He is well acquainted with soon-to-be Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney who will succeed the New Zealand-bound Mooar this summer.

Kalamafoni worked under Delaney for a season at Nottingham in the English Championship.

Former London Irish and Canterbury boss Delaney is looking to put his own stamp on the Scarlets’ recruitment.

Superstar Wales back Liam Williams has already signed from crisis-hit Saracens and the west Walians are looking to strengthen their squad further as they look to compete for honours over the coming seasons. They hope Kalamafoni will be the perfect fit with his aggressive nature perfect for Delaney who wants to take the physicality in his pack up a few notches.

Kalamafoni has also captained the Tigers in the absence of regular skipper Tom Youngs and his leadership ability would be welcomed at Parc y Scarlets especially during the international window periods.

Should he put pen to paper on a deal in west Wales he will compete with former South African loose forward Uzair Cassiem and Scotland international Blade Thomson for the No.8 jersey while he will also face competition from Aaron Shingler for a spot at blindside flanker.

STEFFAN THOMAS

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