Shontayne Hape to join the Exiles

LONDON IRISH have secured the signing of Bath and England centre Shontayne Hape on a two year deal from Bath Rugby.

Shontayne currently features in Martin Johnson’s England squad for the 2011 Six Nations and made his seventh and eighth consecutive test starts against Wales and Italy in the first two rounds of the tournament. He appeared in all of last November’s autumn internationals for England at Twickenham, including an impressive performance against his native New Zealand.

The dual international is a strong and powerful runner with the ability to break the defensive line and offload out of the tackle making him a potent attacking weapon. During his time at Bath he made 58 appearances scoring six tries.

London Irish head coach Toby Booth said: “Shontayne is a player I have been very impressed with since his move to rugby union. He is physically very intimidating and his ability to offload out of the tackle will trouble any defence. We have a lot of young talent coming through the club and the experience that Shontayne brings will also help them to develop further.”

After spending six seasons in rugby league playing for the Bradford Bulls and representing New Zealand Kiwis on the international stage, gaining 14 caps, Shontayne moved across to Bath in 2008 signing a three year contract to play at the Recreation Ground. He made his international debut for England in last year’s summer tour to Australasia qualifying for the red rose through residency.

Shontayne will join London Irish for the 2011/12 season.