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Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 10:09 UK

St Helens bring in Kiwi Puletua

Tony Puletua
Puletua won 19 caps for the Kiwis before switching to Samoa

St Helens have made New Zealand international Tony Puletua their first signing for next season.

The 28-year-old prop/second rower will join the Challenge Cup holders from Penrith Panthers on a three-year deal.

"Tony is keen to come here and it will give him a new lease of life," said St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus.

"He's a very large individual and extremely athletic with good ball-handling skills - he is just what our pack needs."

Puletua, who won 19 caps for the Kiwis between 1998 and 2005 before switching his allegiance to Samoa, had attracted interested from Hull and Huddersfield.

He has made more than 190 appearances for the Panthers since his debut in 1997 and was a member of their Grand Final-winning team in 2003.

606: DEBATE

"Tony has been a great ambassador for the Panthers. It will be sad to see him leave and we wish him and his family all the best," said Penrith general manager Michael Leary.

"I know Tony will play out the rest of the season by producing some of his best football for the Panthers."

Puletua said the decision was made with his wife and three sons in mind.

"There comes a time you've got to make the best decision for yourself and your family," he said. "I feel this is the one for me. It's a new start and new opportunity for me, I'm looking forward to it."



see also
St Helens draw Warrington in Cup
22 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Potter to quit Dragons for Saints
22 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Cunningham backs Saints' youth
22 Apr 08 |  St Helens
Wigan run riot in Challenge Cup
20 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Wigan 24-26 Catalans
11 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
Coach Bennett ends Saints rumours
01 Apr 08 |  Rugby League
St Helens play down Bennett talk
05 Feb 08 |  St Helens
Anderson signs Saints extension
18 Jan 07 |  St Helens


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