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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 11:18 GMT
Scarlets recruit Tongan skipper
Inoke Afeaki joins the Scarlets on a two-year deal
Inoke Afeaki joins the Scarlets on a two-year deal
Llanelli Scarlets have signed Tonga skipper Inoke Afeaki on a two-year contract from Japanese side Secom.

The 31-year-old lock, who has a wealth of Super 12 experience, will arrive at Stradey Park in the summer.

The Scarlets have also re-signed Wales prop Iestyn Thomas, 26, who has agreed a three-year extension.

"Inoke is a mobile, physical forward, a huge presence in the second row with useful ball skills," Scarlets chief executive Stuart Gallacher said.

"We look forward to welcoming him to Stradey at the beginning of June for pre-season training.

"Also, Iestyn has been at the forefront of the Scarlets pack for a number of seasons and we are pleased that he has decided to stay with us".

Thomas, who has won 30 caps for Wales, said: "I'm delighted to have signed with the region for a further three seasons.

"This season hasn't been the best for me, with injury having kept me out of action for the majority of the season, but I'm looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead."

The 6ft 6in Afeaki, who has won 18 caps for his country and three for the combined Pacific Islanders side, will undoubtedly prove a good back-up to first-choice lock pairing Vernon Cooper and Chris Wyatt.

But questions will again be asked why one of Wales' four regional sides has spent its money overseas for a squad player, rather than look to promote home-grown talent.



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