Glasgow Warriors sign Scottish-qualified centre Sione Tuipulotu

Glasgow Warriors have signed the Scottish-qualified, Australian-born centre Sione Tuipulotu from the Japanese club Yamaha Jubilo.

Sione Tuipulotu in action for Melbourne Rising against Western Force. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Sione Tuipulotu in action for Melbourne Rising against Western Force. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

He will move to Scotstoun at the conclusion of the Top League season, the final of which is scheduled for May 23.

Tuipulotu is 24 and qualifies for Scotland through his Glaswegian grandmother. He played for Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby before moving to Yamaha Jubilo in 2020 for his second stint with the Japanese side.

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He can also play on the wing and was part of the Australia squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017, scoring two tries in the 2016 tournament against a Scotland side featuring future team-mates Scott Cummings and Zander Fagerson.

He said: “I think my play style suits the Warriors' style. I’m a bit of a rugby nerd and I’ve watched a lot of their games - I’ve heard a lot about the speed of the Scotstoun pitch and I’m looking forward to playing that attacking fast style of rugby.”

Glasgow will lose centre Huw Jones and stand-off Adam Hastings at the end of the campaign and Tuipulotu is their fourth high-profile recruit from overseas in recent weeks.

The Warriors have also announced the signings of Australian international back-row forward Jack Dempsey and New Zealand back-three under-20 internationals Josh McKay and Cole Forbes as head coach Danny Wilson reshapes his squad for next season.

“I’m really excited for the next chapter in my rugby journey,” Tuipulotu told www.glasgowwarriors.org.

“I’ve been talking to Danny for quite some time and for this to come to fruition is pretty exciting.

“I’ve been enjoying my rugby in Japan and I’m looking to give it my all this season before coming to Glasgow.

“I’m absolutely fizzing to get over to Scotland, earn the boys’ respect and get the season under way.”

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Warriors described 5ft 11in 16-stone Tuipulotu as a “dynamic ball-carrier with impressive footwork”.

The centre made 11 appearances in Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels and also played in Australia’s National Rugby Championship for Melbourne Rising.

Wilson said: “Sione is an exciting talent. He’s Scottish-qualified, and a really physical and powerful ball carrier who can play both centre and wing.

“His skill set and play style complements the way we want to play. We’re look forward to welcoming him to Scotstoun in the summer.”

His two-try performance for Australia U20 against their Scottish counterparts came in a 35-19 win at the play-off stage of the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Manchester. The young Scots had earlier beaten the Junior Wallabies 15-10 in the group stage – their first ever win over Australia at that level.

Zander Fagerson and Darcy Graham scored Scotland’s tries, with Tuipulotu not playing on that occasion.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors are waiting to learn the length of Hastings’ suspension following his red card against Leinster on Sunday.

The fly-half was sent off in the 40-21 defeat in Dublin when his extended right leg caught Leinster’s Cian Kelleher in the face as Hastings tried to catch a high ball while leaning backwards.

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