Cardiff Blues confirm signing of Samoan lock Filo Paulo
Cardiff Blues have signed Samoa and former Auckland Blues lock Filo Paulo on a two-year contract.
The 6ft 6in, 19 stone Samoan international played in the 26-19 victory over Wales in November.
"He is a top player... and we are pretty comfortable with what he could add," said Phil Davies, Blues director of rugby.
Paulo has won three caps for Samoa and played for Auckland-based Super XV side the Blues in 2012.
The Wellington-born player has also had a stint at Pro12's Ulster in 2009.
He won his first Test cap in Wales, facing Canada at Colwyn Bay's Eirias Park in November, before helping Samoa beat Wales 26-19 in the same month.
The player's arrival will add depth to the Blues' pack when they would expect to lose locks Bradley Davies and Lou Reed to Wales duty.
"I am very excited to be joining Cardiff Blues. I know a lot of great players have worn the team's colours so I am extremely grateful to be offered this opportunity," said Paulo.
Phil Davies said the Samoan's arrival will give his pack a major boost through his versatility.
"Filo's ability to play four, five, six or eight was a big influence on him coming here," said Davies.
"He is only 24 years old and has played Super 15s for Auckland Blues and has played international rugby for Samoa.
"He is the right age profile and has an immaculate injury record, physically he is extremely fit.
"He will be with us all the time, week-in week-out, and we have four other second rows who are all Welsh qualified.
"His arrival will add strength and depth to the team."
The Blues, who are expected to lose experienced Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts to Racing Metro in the summer, have managed to hold on to Wales wing Alex Cuthbert and Wales scrum-half Lloyd Williams.
"We want 25 players under-25 to try and create a spine over the next number of years," said Davies.
"Hopefully, it will mean we won't get into a situation where we lose 16 or 17 players at any one time as we did last season."