The Ospreys today confirmed that they have signed Samoa captain Filipo Levi from Japanese side Ricoh Black Rams.
The 29 year-old second row, moved to Japan in May 2007 after spending five years playing for Highlanders in the Super 14, making 66 appearances, with a further 70 outings for Otago in the NPC to his credit.
Standing 6ft 6inches tall and weighing in at more than 18 stone, Levi is a physical player also capable of playing in the back-row, who is renowned for his ferocity in the tackle and workload around the pitch.
Levi has played 10 times for Samoa, and has also represented the Pacific Islanders on five occasions. He was part of the Islanders squad that toured Europe last autumn, starting against England at Twickenham and in Italy, as well as coming on as a replacement against France.
Ospreys Head Coach Sean Holley commented:
"We are delighted to welcome Filipo to the Ospreys, I'm sure that he will prove to be a valuable addition to the squad over the coming months. He has a wealth of experience at Super 14 and international level, which with his sheer physicality and presence will, I'm sure, see him making quite an impact at the region.
"We have been looking at the possibility of bringing him to the Liberty Stadium for quite some time, so it is great news that we have been able to secure his signature, increasing the options available to us as we look to compete on all three fronts over the next few months."
With Alun-wyn Jones and Ian Gough both on Six Nations duty, Ian Evans ruled out for the season after ACL reconstruction surgery, and Lyndon Bateman suffering a dislocated patella in the left knee playing for Aberavon on Saturday, the news of Levi's signing provides a timely boost for the Ospreys ahead of the end of season run-in.
He will arrive in Ospreylia next week and will be available for selection for the Magners League fixture against Connacht at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday February 22nd (KO 2.15pm).