Lance in a million

Saints new signing Lance Kovo Hohaia tackles Great Britain's Karl Pratt
Saints new signing Lance Kovo Hohaia tackles Great Britain's Karl Pratt

WORLD Cup winner Lance Kovo Hohaia is heading for St Helens, and his arrival will hopefully coincide with the completion of the club’s new 18,000-capacity stadium.

The Kiwi, who celebrated his 28th birthday on April 1, has signed a four-year deal from the 2012 season.

Head coach Royce Simmons said yesterday: “Lance is a proven international.

“We aim to utilise him as a half-back, which is his preferred position, but he has tremendous utility and has played most of his recent rugby at full-back.

“We have some tremendous young talent in our back division, and Lance’s experience at the highest level will be of great benefit.”

Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “Lance is a genuine marquee signing for us, and will add experience and versatility to our backs. The club will have a fantastic new stadium next season, and we aim to have a team which can grace it.”

Hohaia has made more than 150 appearances for New Zealand Warriors – the club he joined in 2002.

The Kiwi, who is currently enjoying a testimonial season Down Under, said: “I am really excited at the prospect of joining Saints and relishing the challenges ahead.”

Nicknamed The Huntly Hurricane, he has represented his country on 22 occasions, and was a member of the side which defeated Australia 34-20 in the 2008 World Cup Final.