RHINOS ANNOUNCE TOOPI SIGNING

Leeds Rhinos have today announced the signing of New Zealand test star Clinton Toopi on a three year contract from the start of the 2007 engage Super League season.

Leeds Rhinos have today announced the signing of New Zealand test star Clinton Toopi on a three year contract from the start of the 2007 engage Super League season. Toopi, 26, is a current New Zealand international and was part of the side who defeated Australia in the Tri Nations Final at Elland Road last Autumn. He has made 128 appearances in the NRL with the New Zealand Warriors and is the fifth on the club’s all time list of appearances and the third highest try scorer. The giant centre has gained 18 caps for his country and scored a hat trick in the Kiwis 38-28 win over Australia in the first game of last year’s Tri Nations, New Zealand’s first win in Sydney since 1959. Commenting on signing for the Rhinos, he 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." 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." 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."