Gloucester Rugby can today confirm the signing of experienced Tongan hooker Aleki Lutui from Edinburgh Rugby.
The 35 year old, who spent last season at Edinburgh Rugby, has put pen to paper on a deal that brings him to Kingsholm as the Cherry and Whites continue to build their squad ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Lutui joined Edinburgh in April 2013 following seven seasons and 168 appearances for Worcester Warriors, a club he joined in 2006 from the Chiefs in Super Rugby.
He joins fellow Tongans Sione Kalamafoni and Sila Puafisi in the Gloucester Rugby squad, and the experience gained from representing his country 33 times and playing in two Rugby World Cups will be vital to Gloucester.
The former police officer is a powerful ball carrier known for his work rate and consistency, and will provide essential strength in depth amongst the Gloucester Rugby hookers alongside Darren Dawidiuk and new arrival Richard Hibbard.
Lutui is looking forward to the prospect of joining up with his new team mates when they return for pre-season training in late June, as he told the club website.
"I know a lot about Gloucester having faced them several times in my Worcester days. It's a great club and I always enjoyed playing against them.
"I was also in the Edinburgh side that played Gloucester at Murrayfield last season, and the support that the away fans gave the team made a real impression on me. To have those supporters shouting for me is something I cannot wait for.
"To be representing a club with the history such as Gloucester will be an honour, as will linking up with my fellow countrymen, Sila and Sione.
"I look forward to working with all the front row players, Darren and Richard in particular, and helping to form a strong unit up front. It's going to be an exciting season."
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).