New recruit Tyla Hepi is ‘perfect fit’ for Castleford Tigers, admits Daryl Powell

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More than 30 years after first playing alongside side his dad for Glenora Bears in Auckland, Daryl Powell is now looking forward to coaching Tyla Hepi for Castleford Tigers in Super League.

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Tyla Hepi, left.

Tyla Hepi, left.

The New Zealand-born prop, 25, has joined from Championship club Toulouse Olympique for 2020.

He is the son of former Hull and Featherstone Rovers player Brad Hepi who also represented Castleford in 1999 and again two years later.

Powell explained: “Tyla carries the ball with a fair bit of whack and defensively he has some intent about him, too.

“I think he’ll be a perfect fit, if I’m honest. I knew his dad pretty well.

Tyla Hepi.

Tyla Hepi.

“I actually first met him when I went to play for Glenora in New Zealand in 1986. A long time ago…

“He was there, too, so I’ve known him a fair while.

“He obviously came over here and had a pretty good career, too.

“Tyla’s now following in his dad’s footsteps, obviously playing for Castleford as well.

“He has a similar attitude to him; Brad was pretty fiery and Tyler’s the same. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Hepi started out at Hull KR, playing a handful of Super League games for them, but has also featured with Wyong Roos, Auckland’s Point Chevalier Pirates and Whitehaven before spending the last four years with Toulouse.

He can also play back-row and Tigers – who have signed him as a replacement for Wigan Warriors-bound Mitch Clark – have a further one-year option in their favour for 2021.

Hepi said: “I feel like I’ve gone the long way round in my career; I’ve not taken any shortcuts.

“Looking back, I wasn’t ready to be a Super League player the last time with Hull KR.

“It did leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I was younger and I’ve been trying to get that back ever since.

“I used to be a bit loose out on the field but coming to Toulouse the coach here has coached that out of my game.

“I was a bit raw but full credit goes to him for making me the player I am today and I feel ready for this next step.”

Castleford hope to have two of their current Kiwi forwards – Junior Moors and Jesse Sene-Lefao – back in contention for Hull FC’s visit on Thursday night.

Hull, though, will be without in-form centre Josh Griffin who has received a one-game ban for the dangerous throw that saw him red carded in Friday’s win over Salford Red Devils.

The Airlie Birds have also released Jordan Thompson so the 27-year-old utility player – who has been struggling for game-time recently – can rejoin Leigh Centurions.

Leaders St Helens have suffered a blow, assistant coach Sean Long leaving with immediate effect to join Premiership rugby union club Harlequins.

Richard Marshall, sacked as Halifax coach earlier this term, is expected to take over.