Cardiff sign Lopeti Timani from Toulon ahead of 2022/23 season

Lopeti Timani has played international rugby for Australia and Tonga
Lopeti Timani has played international rugby for Australia and Tonga
©Steve Haag

Cardiff Rugby have announced the signing of Tonga international Lopeti Timani from French club Toulon ahead of the 2022/23 season.

This is the fourth signing made by the club ahead of the new season after Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams.

At age 18 Timani moved to Australia and switched codes, playing rugby league for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the NRL's Toyota Cup competition in 2009 and 2010 before returning back to rugby union in 2011 featuring for Waratahs following which he switched to Melbourne Rebels in 2014.

The 31-year-old also had a four-year stint with La Rochelle and joined Toulon last year making 12 appearances for them in the ongoing season.

“I’m really looking forward to linking up with Cardiff and have heard a lot of good things about the set-up there and life in Wales in general. Playing in Cardiff has always been a highlight of our tours," he told the club's official website.

“As a family we have enjoyed our time in France and I am very grateful to Toulon for the opportunity this season. I remain fully committed to them for the rest of the campaign but we are also looking forward to a new chapter in Cardiff.

“I know a couple of the guys there and feel the style of play will suit me. I also feel I can bring my own game for the benefit of the team and will do everything I can to contribute.

“I’ve had some good conversations with Dai and having seen his plans for the club plus the signings made, I’m just really excited to get involved".

Timani played 12 Tests for Australia in 2016 and 2017 and became the first player to represent a second national team since World Rugby changed its eligibility rules making his Tonga debut in 2021.

“We are really pleased to bring Lopeti on board for next season and believe he can have a big impact here," said Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young.

“He is a vastly experienced player, who is used to playing in Europe and the style of play here. He brings a real physical presence and combines that with an impressive work-rate, line out prowess and ball-handling ability.

“The signing of Lopeti fills the space in the squad left by Cory Hill last summer and gives us some quality in the second-row, which will drive competition.”