Toopi signs for Leeds

Leeds have signed New Zealand Test centre Clinton Toopi on a three-year contract from next season.

The 26-year-old Kiwi, who won his 18th cap in last November?s Tri-Nations Series final in Leeds at Elland Road, will fill the vacancy created by the departure of Great Britain centre Chev Walker.

Toopi has scored 57 tries in 128 National Rugby League appearances for the New Zealand Warriors since making his debut in 1999.

Toopi said: ?I am very excited about the prospect of going to England and joining an established club like Leeds Rhinos with so many international players already in the squad.

?I am especially looking forward to teaming up again with Ali Lauitiiti. We had a great combination at the Warriors and I know I can play well off him.

?I have been watching Super League on television in New Zealand and I have been very impressed with the competition. I know it is going to be tough but I?m confident I can be successful with the Rhinos.?

Leeds rugby chief executive Gary Hetherington added: ?Clinton is one of the game?s most established and exciting players. He comes to us with a world class reputation and in the prime of his career at just 26 years of age.?

Leeds head coach Tony Smith commented: "I am delighted we are bringing a world class player into our organisation.

?He has shown his quality on the world stage and, having spoken with him, he is really keen to reproduce that form in Super League. I am looking forward to coaching him and having him in our squad from next season."

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