London Welsh have signed Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership winning second row Dan Leo from London Irish.
Leo, 32, becomes London Welsh’s thirteenth confirmed new signing for next season’s Championship campaign and joins after a season at Irish, having previously enjoyed spells with Perpignan, Bordeaux-Begles and Wasps.
The 6ft 6in and 17st 8lb New Zealand born forward, who can also play back row, brings the experience of two World Cup tournaments in 2007 and 2011, and won the last of his 39 caps in Samoa’s defeat to England at Twickenham in November.
Leo, who moved to Australia when he was 18, joined Wasps from Queensland Red and made his first Premiership debut against Northampton Saints in February 2006. The following season he helped Wasps to Heineken Cup success, coming off the bench in the club’s 25-9 victory over Leicester Tigers in the final at Twickenham, and to Premiership success in 2007/08.
In 2010 Leo left Wasps for France and helped Bordeaux-Begles gain promotion to the Top 14 in his first season. After aiding Bordeaux to secure their place in the top flight the following year, he then spent two seasons at Perpignan before joining London Irish in 2014.
In total, Leo has made 75 Premiership appearances, scoring three tries.
London Welsh Director of Rugby Steve Lewis said: "Dan is vastly experienced in the Premiership, Top 14, Heineken Cup and at international level, having played in two World Cups, and that experience will be hugely beneficial in next season’s Championship campaign.
"Dan is an athletic and powerful ball carrying second row, who also gives us options right across the back row, and at 6ft 6in and 17st 8lb will also give us another line out option and some real go forward.
"Dan is likely to be involved again with Samoa at this year’s Rugby World Cup but we have planned our recruitment accordingly for that eventuality."
Re-signed for 2015/16:
Seb Jewell, Alan Awcock, Nic Reynolds, James Lewis, Will Robinson, Nathan Trevett, Koree Britton, Nathan Morris, Ben Cooper, Olly Barkley, Rob Lewis, Ben Pienaar, Chris Elder, Matt Corker and Darren Waters.
Already under contract for 2015/16:
Richard Thorpe, Ben West, Ricky Reeves, Jack Gilding, Eddie Aholelei, Josh McNally and Jesse Liston.
Josh Drauniniu (Worcester Warriors), Martyn Thomas (Wasps), Guy Armitage (London Irish), Kieran Murphy (Brive), Ryan Hodson (Jersey), Gus Jones (Wasps), Will Skuse (Bath Rugby), Joe Carlisle (Treviso), Josh Davies (Plymouth Albion), Darryl Marfo (Harlequins), Ryan Glynn (Jersey), Harry Allen (London Irish) and Dan Leo (London Irish).