Leicester Tigers have confirmed the signing of Fijian fullback Kini Murimurivalu who joins the club from La Rochelle.
Murimurivalu joins the club following the departure of Telusa Veainu to Stade Francais. The outside-back, capable of playing at full-back or on the wing, joins the club from La Rochelle, where he made more than 130 appearances in eight seasons at the French club.
Murimurivalu was born in Suva and played his junior rugby in Fiji, while being educated at Queen Victoria School. He was selected by Fiji Under-20s at the Junior Rugby World Cup in 2009, before being signed by Clermont Auvergne in France in 2009, where he spent the next three seasons.
The entertaining outside-back made his international debut in 2011 against Tonga and has made more than 30 Test appearances for the Flying Fijians, including representing his home nation at three successive Rugby World Cups in 2011, ’15 and ’19. In 2012, Murimurivalu moved to La Rochelle and has spent the past eight seasons in the south-west of France.
Speaking about the signing, Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Geordan Murphy said: “Kini is an exciting addition to our squad and someone I am sure will light up the Premiership while representing Leicester Tigers.
“He is not only entertaining in attack but also a physical, strong defensive player and adds a wealth of experience to our side.
“I was fortunate enough to play alongside some talented Fijians at Tigers, who bring just as much to a club off the pitch as they do on it and Kini will be no different from what we saw in our conversations with him.
“Alongside fellow new recruits in the backline, including his international team-mate Nemani Nadolo, and the class we have with the likes of George Ford and Ben Youngs, it is a new-look, promising group of players to work with, who we believe represent what this club is working hard to be about moving forward on this journey.”
Murimurivalu said: “I feel blessed and happy to sign at Tigers.
“I have heard a lot about Leicester and its history and know some former players, like Seru Rabeni and Seremaia Bai, and have played with the Fiji team with Nemani.
“I am looking forward to the experience and the different environment in Leicester after more than 10 years in France, and to try new things.”
The 31-year-old said he was equally excited by the plans in place for the club after speaking to Murphy and new Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick.
“They told me about their plans and the future at Tigers and I was really excited and moved by what they had to say,” he added.
“I am looking forward to helping the team at Tigers.”
Murimurivalu will join an illustrious list of Fiji internationals to have represented Leicester Tigers and is looking forward to adding to that legacy.
“I am definitely excited about being a part of that, there have been lots of famous Fijians play at Leicester and I can now be part of that.”
The 31-year-old will link up with his new team-mates at Tigers in the coming weeks ahead of the scheduled resumption of the 2019/20 campaign and into the 2020/ 21 Gallagher Premiership and European seasons.