Edinburgh bolster ranks with Atiga
April 17, 2012
Ben Atiga on the charge for the Highlanders © Getty Images
Edinburgh have announced that they have secured former All Blacks back Ben Atiga on a two-year deal.
Atiga has turned out for the Blues and the Highlanders in Super Rugby and has a solitary New Zealand cap to his name. The former IRB Young Player of the Year opted to take voluntary redundancy from Otago at the end of 2011 when the region was in the midst of their financial difficulties and agreed to switch to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh are currently enjoying success on the European stage with a spot secured in the Heineken Cup semi-finals and they have already stepped up their recruitment drive ahead of next season. Atiga will join fellow new signings Greig Tonks, John Yapp, Ritchie Rees, Dimitri Basilaia and WP Nel at the PRO12 side.
Edinburgh boss Michael Bradley is hoping Atiga's experience will help herald in the next generation of players. Bradley said: "He's a very impressive package of agility, power and skill, accommodating 100 kilograms of muscle into a 5'10" frame, and I believe he'll make a big impact at this club, both from a performance perspective but also in bringing on the many talented young players we have at the club."
And Atiga is relishing the opportunity to live in a place he has been on tour to in the past.
"I toured Scotland with my school in 2000, with New Zealand Schools in 2001 and was based in Edinburgh with the New Zealand U20 side in 2004, when the Junior World Championships were in Glasgow, so it's reassuring to have experienced my new home through rugby already," Atiga said. "Playing rugby overseas has always been something that's appealed to me. I've had loads of calls from fellow players at home and abroad telling me how beautiful the city is and how lucky I am to get this opportunity."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.