Will Hopoate: St Helens sign Tonga full-back from Canterbury Bulldogs

Will Hopoate
Will Hopoate has played for New South Wales in Origin, as his father John did, and represents Tonga

St Helens will sign Tonga international Will Hopoate from Australian National Rugby League side Canterbury Bulldogs on a two-year deal for the 2022 season.

Hopoate, 29, has played 180 first grade games and scored 45 tries either side of a two-year Mormon mission stint.

He played five State of Origin games for New South Wales and has 11 caps for Tonga, who are coached by Saints boss Kristian Woolf.

"I had option to sign for clubs in the NRL," Hopoate said.

"But I have always wanted to play in the Super League and a strong club like St Helens meant I just couldn't turn it down."

Hopoate will likely take the centre spot occupied by Fiji international Kevin Naiqama, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, as he can play anywhere across the back line.

The Manly-born full-back, whose father John played for the Sea Eagles and Australia, followed in those footsteps by playing at Brookvale and then Parramatta before his move to the Bulldogs.

He was also the hero for Tonga in their historic win over the Australian Kangaroos in 2019.

It was under Woolf that Tonga reached the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup and Hopoate was an ever-present in that run.

"I have been coached by 'Woolfie' before for Tonga and that was a big reason why I made the decision," he said.

"I know him as a person and as a coach and his values and standards that he sets is something I want to buy into."

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