Newcastle Falcons can confirm the signing of Tongan international Prop Taione Vea from London Welsh.
Vea, 26, will join the Falcons on a two year deal in time for the 2015/16 season has joined the Falcons on a two year deal.
The powerful Prop received his first international cap against Japan in the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup and has gone on to make six appearances to date for his country.
Auckland-born Vea began his career with New Zealand side North Harbour before moving to the Aviva Premiership first with Wasps and later with London Welsh.
Speaking of the move, Vea said: “I’ve spoken with Dean about his plans for Newcastle Falcons and his vision on where the club is going and it sounds like something I want to be involved with.
“I’m still learning a lot and want to get more Premiership experience so I’m looking forward to doing that at Newcastle Falcons.” Vea will move to the North East this summer in preparation for the start of the 2015 season, although there are a number of familiar faces already at the club.
“I’ve played with Uili Kolo’ofai and although I’ve never played with Tane Takulua we know of each other from home. I’ve played with Richard Mayhew in New Zealand too though; he was about during my first season and really looked after me during that time, he’s a good guy.
“I’ve heard the North East is a great place to live and that there’s a lovely group of people up there so I’m looking forward to it, although I’m not too sure about the cold – after two years in London I still haven’t quite acclimatised to the UK weather yet!”
Standing at 6’2” and weighing in at just over 20 stones, Vea moves to the Falcons after a year at London Welsh which has seen him appear 25 times for the Exiles to date, scoring tries against both London Irish and Northampton Saints.
Newcastle Falcons Director of Rugby Dean Richards said: “We’re pleased to be able to add Taione to the squad for the next season. He’s a quality prop who is a great scrummager and equally strong on the loose work too.
“As a Tongan international he brings a powerful and skilled head to our front row, although he’s also a very humble guy who I know will fit in well with our squad.” Vea becomes the fifth new signing announced by Newcastle Falcons ahead of the 2015/16 season, following Kiwi Fly Half Mike Delany, England Sevens Fullback Marcus Watson, Yorkshire Carnegie Prop Ben Harris and Vea’s Tongan countryman Sonatane Takulua, who has already arrived at Kingston Park Stadium.
A number of current players have also been announced as having committed to Newcastle Falcons with new contracts already confirmed for captain Will Welch, Ally Hogg, Alex Tait, Tom Catterick, Adam Powell and Juan Pablo Socino, whilst Simon Hammersley and Chris Harris have both signed their first senior contracts with the club.
Season Ticket Memberships at Newcastle Falcons are available to buy now, starting from £160 for adults. For more information click here.