Huddersfield’s four-month search for a replacement for Brett Ferres has ended with the signing of former New Zealand Warriors back-row forward Sebastine Ikahihifo.
The 25-year-old forward, who is 6ft 2in and weighs 16st, joins the Giants on a two-and-a-half-year deal after being released by St George Illawarra.
Ikahihifo, who joined the Dragons from the Warriors at the start of the season but failed to break into their NRL team, will belatedly plug the gap created by the loss of Ferres, who was sold to Leeds on the eve of the season.
Giants coach Paul Anderson said: “We have been looking for quality players for a long time now and I am really pleased that Sebastine has decided that now is the time for him to come to the UK and that we are the club of his choice.
“He is someone we have looked at previously but he wanted to remain in the NRL – now that’s changed we will welcome him with open arms. We have lost a number of players from the squad for various reasons and Sebastine will bring some size, maturity and grit to our pack.
“He is a big powerful man and has plenty of his best years in front of him. He is a former team-mate of Sam Rapira and Ukuma Ta’ai and they, like me, know that he can bring a lot to the team.”
Huddersfield, next to bottom of Super League with just three wins from 14 matches after their 16-14 loss to Catalans Dragons on Saturday, say they expect the player to receive final clearance and arrive in time to make his debut against St Helens at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle next Sunday.
“Our needs are obviously now and I know he just wants to get his head down and get into the rigours of Super League,” said Anderson.
“We should also thank the St George Illawarra Dragons club for their assistance in releasing Sebastine from his contract with them.”