Lions sign a flying Fijian and a Spalding old boy

Exciting new Lions signing Orisi Nawaqaliva.
Exciting new Lions signing Orisi Nawaqaliva.

Peterborough Lions have wasted no time in bolstering their squad for next season.

In the last couple of weeks they have brought in four new players and, according to director of rugby Simon Moyles, who has been busy recruiting the new blood, more are on the way.

Wes Cope in action.

Wes Cope in action.

The Lions have narrowly missed out on promotion in all three of their seasons so far in National League Division Three (next season to be known as the Midlands Premiership). Last season they were fourth.

“We slipped out of the promotion race in the final furlong last season because we didn’t have enough strength in depth so that’s what I’ve been trying to rectify,” said Moyles.

“I’ve been working with our new coach Vili Ma’asi, who has some very good contacts in the game at a high level, to add to the depth.

“We’ve brought in four players and there will almost certainly be more. And, as far as I’m aware, none of last season’s squad - with the exception of player/coach Darren Fox - are moving on.

“I certainly don’t want to lose any of our existing players.

“And the signings we’ve made are really exciting.”

Perhaps the most exciting of those is ex-Nottingham and Ampthill centre Orisi Nawaqaliva, a flying Fijian who represented his country at Under 20 level at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand.

Nawaqaliva’s father is in the army and the UK has been his home since about the age of seven. He was a member of the Sale Sharks’ Academy as a youngster.

Wes Cope, a hooker or back row player, joins the Lions from National League Two side South Leicester but played for three seasons with Old Albanians in National League One. He’s also represented Leicestershire and Hertfordshire.

He is well known to many local rugby fans having started his career as a 16 year-old with Spalding.

“Nawaqaliva is obviously going to be one to watch,” said Moyles, “while Wes has played at a very good level and has a good attitude. He has great leadership qualities.”

The other two signings are fly-half/fullback Dan Milem from Huntingdon and tight-head prop Tom Jones from National League One club Cambridge.

Milem scored 227 points for Huntingdon in Midlands Division One last season while Jones was once on the books of London Scottish.

The Lions begin pre-season training at their Bretton Park headquarters on Tuesday June 27.

“And we’d love to see anyone who lives locally and fancies giving it a go with the Lions as we continue to build a squad capable of winning promotion,” said Moyles.