Glasgow Warriors have added further international class to their back division with the signing of Samoa Rugby World Cup winger David Lemi.
The former London Wasps and Bristol wideman’s arrival comes weeks after he impressed for his country at the global gathering in New Zealand. He today put pen to paper on a contract that will see him tied to the Warriors until at least the end of the current season.
This further infusion of quality in the Warriors back three comes in the wake of the news that fans’ favourite DTH van der Merwe is likely to miss a significant portion of the season with a shoulder injury.
Lemi, 29, is due to land in Glasgow on Tuesday. Having lived in Britain since 2005, he is classed as a UK resident and will not be considered a “non-European” player for RaboDirect PRO12 games. Under tournament rules, a maximum of two non-European players are permitted in a team’s match-day squad.
The 30-cap flyer today told www.glasgowwarriors.org he’s “massively looking forward to the opportunity” afforded him by the only major professional sports club that represents the whole of Glasgow and the west of Scotland.
Lemi said: “I’m delighted to have signed for Glasgow Warriors and to have the chance to help the team enjoy a successful season.
“One look at the squad list tells you that this is a club with a lot of talented players, and I’m confident that I can bring the benefit of my own experience to bear and play a part in the side continuing to win.
“Having spoken to Sean Lineen, I’ve already got a got insight into the passion and commitment that I’ll find at the club. They’ve been doing well of late, and I can’t wait to do my bit to make sure that run continues.”
Already an established figure on the IRB 7s circuit, Lemi first captured the wider imagination in the 15-a-side game by finishing runner up in the English Premiership try scoring charts in his debut season with Bristol.
He went one better the following campaign, before moving to Wasps in 2009. He was again the league’s joint top marksman that year, and has won a fistful of accolades for spectacular individual scores.
He has twice played for Samoa against Scotland, in Wellington in June 2004 and at Pittodrie in November 2010.
Lineen is “very excited” to have secured his services, telling www.glasgowwarriors.org: “David is a gifted performer who ticks all the boxes in terms of what we’re looking for in a player.
“He’s hungry, he handles pressure well and he’s a proven try scorer. It looks like we’re going to be without one of our main try-providers, DTH, for a significant amount of time, and so it’s fantastic to have brought on board someone like David who we know will provide the same sort of threat.”
Another Warriors winger, Dave McCall, has gone on a month’s loan to RFU Championship side Rotherham Titans.
In a further piece of squad news, back-row forward Rory Pitman, who joined in May 2011 on a six-month loan from Ospreys, has returned to the Swansea club.
Lineen commented: “David’s had a tough time so far this year with injury, and this is a great chance for him to get some games under his belt and take it from there.
“I’d also like to thank Rory for the hard work he put in during his time here. He started in our win over Leinster in the RDS and pushed our other back-rowers hard.”