Tonga international Ukuma Ta’ai is joining ambitious Betfred Championship club Newcastle Thunder for the 2021 season following his release by Huddersfield.

The 34-year-old former New Zealand Warriors forward scored 48 tries in 194 appearances for the Giants over nine years and was in the team that won the Super League League Leaders’ Shield in 2013. He also won 10 caps for Tonga.

Thunder director of rugby Denis Betts said: “Ukuma is a big statement signing for us as a club. He is a high-quality Super League player and he is going to add a great deal to our squad.

“He is a devastating back row with great ability to break open a game and will be an enforcer for us in the forwards.

“With massive amounts of experience it is a big statement that a player like him has chosen to come to Thunder and I’m looking forward to him arriving.”