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Matt Pini
"I was very, very impressd with the set-up"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Pini and Katalau heading for Wales
Matt Pini
Pini is a dual international with Australia and Italy
Newport have strengthened their squad with the addition of Roma's international full-back Matt Pini on a two-year contract.

Pini, 31, has won eight caps for Australia and 12 for Italy, and was a target for the club over the summer but chose at the time to stay in Italy.

Newport have bought out the new contract he signed with Roma at that time.

Llanelli have also added to their resources by bringing in 27-cap Fijian lock Emori Katalau.

Katalau, 33, was with Dunvant last season and was outstanding for Fiji in the World Cup.

He will compete with Chris Wyatt, Craig Gillies and Vernon Cooper for a place in the Scarlet boiler-house.

Matthew Watkins
Newport experimented with Matthew Watkins at full back
Full-back search

Newport have been searching for a full-back since Shane Howarth made the switch to outside-half.

Franco Smith departed in the summer and Justin Thomas was released, moving to Caerphilly.

The club tried centre Matthew Watkins in the position and brought in youngster Emyr Lewis from UWIC.

Lewis has made an impressive start for Newport, but it seems that the club want a more experienced option.

Pini, who played alongside a number of Wales' internationals during his time at Richmond, is in the current Italian squad and played in last season's Six Nations.

The long-term aim will be to have as many local players as possible
  Allan Lewis
Darryl Jones

Neath have also recruited coach Darryl Jones from Neath.

He will take charge of the development of young players with the intention of bringing in more local talent from Gwent.

He arrives with a strong reputation, having helped to build an exciting young team at Neath.

Newport coach Allan Lewis said:

"Darryl has a proven track record in the development of young players.

"One of his aims will be to attract and develop young players and the long-term aim will be to have as many local players as possible."

Newport have rebuilt their team on the back of strong international signings like Gary Teichmann and Simon Raiwalui, but it is good to see the long-term commitment to Welsh talent.

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