Taulapapa back soon for Eagles says Aston

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SAMOAN international Misi Taulapapa will be back with Sheffield Eagles in the next few weeks, coach Mark Aston has assured fans.

With the season into its third month Taulapapa, the club’s Player of the Year in 2010, is still in New Zealand raising doubts over his return.

The problem appears to have been tough immigration controls which have caused delays in the player getting his UK entry visa renewed.

Aston said: “I’ve been talking to Misi, he’s got his visa application in and hopefully he will be here in a couple of weeks.”

Taulapapa was the Eagles major signing for the 2010 season, joining from Australian NRL club Cronulla Sharks.

He started the season on the wing but it was when he moved to fullback, following an injury to Jonny Woodcock, that he made an impact.

His speed and clever support play brought him 13 tries before a broken right ankle in the first round of the play-offs ended his season.

Taulapapa was recovering well from the injury and was expected to complete his rehab after returning to the UK.

That’s been eased by the arrival in the UK of Quentin Laulu-Togagae who took over at fullback in the win at win at York last week. He’s likely to continue in the role against Toulouse Olympique at Bramall Lane on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

University student Jamie Cottle played at the back in the first six games of the season. Long-serving fullback Jonny Woodcock could also challenge for the role after recovering from major knee surgery last season.

Woodcock came through his first game for nearly a year for the reserves against York last Friday.

Aston has also boosted his cover in the backs by the signing of centre Jason Crookes and winger or fullback Vinny Finigan on dual registration deals from Bradford Bulls.