Northampton Saints today announced that Ken Pisi will be joining the club ahead of the 2012/13 season.
Pisi, the younger brother of Aviva Premiership Rugby Dream Team centre George, has risen rapidly through the Samoan representative ranks over the past few months, from taking the IRB Sevens Series by storm to making his full international debut in last Saturday’s 20-18 Pacific Nations Cup win over Tonga.
The 23-year-old – 6 feet tall and weighing 89 kgs – was also on the bench for Samoa's Round 2 win over Fiji and is comfortable in any of the outside back positions. He will bring pace and physicality to the Saints’ attack when he arrives at the club once Samoa’s international commitments have been completed.
Although capped by Samoa, Pisi’s early representative career was in New Zealand’s colours, and he played against two of his future club mates – Calum Clark and Courtney Lawes – in the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship final.
After five years at ITM Cup outfit North Harbour he is excited by the prospect of moving to Franklin’s Gardens.
“I want to experience something different,” he said. “I was impressed by Jim Mallinder and the rest of the Saints coaches, and I’ve seen that it is a good environment, has a strong sense of community and is a club which takes care of players.
“Obviously the fact that George is doing well at the club made my decision easier. He’s been enjoying his rugby and told me that the club is well organised with a tight squad, and everything that I’ve seen myself backs that up.
“I like to think that I’m an attacking player, so I think I’ll fit into the style of play. The Saints like to use the ball and to attack and are an exciting team to watch. I want to fulfil my potential and am looking forward to doing that in the black, green and gold of the Saints.”
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Pisi will be a good addition to the Saints squad ahead of another season of Aviva Premiership Rugby and Heineken Cup action.
“We’ve been very excited by what we’ve seen from Ken,” he commented. “He is fast and physical and has good rugby awareness and handling skills. He is also versatile and can slot into a number of positions, which is important for us as we try to maintain a squad which can compete both in the Premiership and Europe while staying within the salary cap.
“We think that Ken will fit into our style of play and am looking forward to welcoming him to Franklin’s Gardens in the next few weeks.”
I thought he had decided to become a sevens specialist. Pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Be very interesting to see our first line up in the backs next season. Will teh brothers be our new centre oartnership or will Ken be on the bench ready to cover all positions ? How good is Luther ? Will Armstrong be promoted ? can't wait.
Ken Pisi is a brand-new international, so is "Test class". Not sure if he's specialised enough to warrant "Test class no.12" however. But are we being realistic in desiring a Test- (let alone world-) class no.12 - surely everybody would like one (and/or a world-class no.10) but they're thin on the ground, and Jimmy Downey did the job while being barely A-team class. Jim's comments about "staying within salary cap" make me wonder if we could afford the likes of Scott Williams anyway.
Having been v impressed with Ken's showing in the recent 7's in a very good Samoan team, I sense he'll be the sort of player who instinctively looks for space and offloads rather than barging up the middle into contact. Very much like the AB's display against Ireland at the weekend.
Offload, offload, offload and plenty of support runners.
Owen, i think it's pretty normal that an Islander wanting to play professionally abroad should get a cap pretty quickly if necessary, provided they are happy to make that commitment to samoa/tonga/fiji over australia/NZ , and of course provided they are a good enough player.
KP let Samoa know he wanted to follow the bloodline and play for samoa, starting in february, the first chance to do his bit coming at the Hong Kong leg of the IRB sevens in march , which made him unavailable for any other Union, followed by his first samoan XVs cap last week (the first opportunity).
reading between the lines not difficult after he made his decision public in february and always a good chance he was headed this way, happily.From Samoa's point of view it makes sense as they can't afford to run pro rugby at home, so it helps to have samoans playing professionally elsewhere.
George has been fantastic and if Ken is 3/4 as good as him we have made a great signing. Have seen his speed on you tube and he is quick. If he can run some lines, which is what our backs need we could be in for a good season. We look to building in some international resilience too. None of our new boys will be going anywhere come autumn int/ 6N time.
I don't think any of the Welsh Internationals will leave the Principality. The WRFU is making huge efforts to keep them in their regional teams. We couldn't get Cuthburt and I don't think we will get Williams, though - needless to say - it would be nice to be proved wrong.
Cuthbert would have been the better signing, perhaps. He impresses me every time I see him play. Also, we need a bit of height and power among our backs.
*I could agree with you - but then we'd both be wrong...*
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