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Tuqiri joins Rabbitohs

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday, January 23, 2014

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said Lote Tuqiri, at 34, was in the mix to play for the top squad this season after the club revived his NRL career.

While Tuqiri's 15 years of experience as a top-flight player in both rugby codes is considered a huge plus for the club's brigade of young players, Maguire reiterated the winger was signed to challenge for a berth in the club's starting side.

"He's a man of a lot of experience and was keen to have another go, and I thought it was a good opportunity to get a player like that," Maguire said yesterday after securing the veteran on a one-year deal.

"It's about opportunity. Lote wants to play first grade. He wants to get back to that level so it's really about him performing well to make sure he gets those opportunities."

Tuqiri was released by Wests Tigers at the end of last season after injuries ruined his last two years at the club. He spent time during the off-season in Ireland with Leinster and while Maguire admitted he had limited access to vision of how the dual international performed while at Dublin, his protracted conversations with Tuqiri left Maguire feeling he was determined to succeed at Souths.

"I've spoken to Lote for quite some time," he said.

"I'm aware of where he is with his career … he showed some interest some time ago … and when he came back he seemed really excited about it so I thought I'd give him a chance."

Tuqiri had his first training session in the red-and-green strip yesterday, and Maguire was impressed with the way he fitted in.

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