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Premiership Rugby

Italy star Persico signs for Tykes

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Persico, who has been capped 30 times, was the star of the Six Nations for the Italians, claiming the man of the match prize in their historic win over Wales and was the outstanding player in their second half comeback against England at Twickenham.

The Tykes, who have qualified for the Heineken Cup for the first time ever, have also announced the signing of highly rated Cardiff prop Gary Powell, 23, on a one year contract. Both players have experience of playing in the Heineken Cup and join the other Tykes recruits for next season; Phil Christophers, Tim Walsh, Colm Rigney, Duncan Hodge, Stuart Hooper and Simon Halford.

Tykes director of rugby Phil Davies said he was delighted with his latest acquisitions and is particularly excited about seeing 25-year-old Persico in action.

"Aaron was Italy's top performer in the Six Nations and he is the type we needed to replace Cameron Mather. He's a little bit different to Cammie but his work rate is phenomenal and it will be great to see him and Dan Hyde working together."

The New Zealand-born back-row, who qualifies for his adopted country through Italian grandparents and is equally adept on both sides of the scrum.

Powell, who has played for Wales at Under 21 level, came through the ranks at Cardiff and has been part of their first team squad for the past three seasons. Davies commented, “Gary is a very talented, young prop and he is looking forward to developing here with us. He has impressed with his performances for Cardiff at such a young age for a prop and I’m sure he has a bright future.

"The majority of players we are putting together are under the age of 25, so it bodes well. It's going to be hard for us in the Heineken Cup but we are there and that's what counts. Now we have to have to do ourselves proud," added Davies.

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