Blues add bulk to pack with the signing of Samoan international Filo Paulo
Born in Wellington, of Samoan heritage, Filo Paulo plays for Auckland Blues where he has been capped 26 times at Super Rugby level and made 35 appearances for North Harbour in the ITM Cup competition since 2008.
A physical player and strong line out jumper, Paulo can play in the second row or blindside and made his international debut for Samoa in their Autumn 2012 tests, playing against Canada and France. He was also part of the Samoa team that defeated Wales by 26 points to 19, at the Millennium Stadium in November.
Standing at 6ft 6in tall and weighing in at 19 stone Paulo is certainly a formidable presence on the pitch and had a stint with Ulster early on in his career before returning to New Zealand.
Speaking of the move Filo Paulo said,
"I am very excited to be joining Cardiff Blues. I know a lot of great players have worn the team's colours so I am extremely grateful to be offered this opportunity and I will be giving my all in order to meet the high standards set by my teammates, the coaching staff and the supporters.
“Cardiff is a great city and the people are very friendly which will make the transition to Wales much easier. The dedicated fans and awesome game atmosphere are second to none so I am really looking forward to the challenge."
Cardiff Blues CEO Richard Holland, added,
“Filo will be a strong addition to our squad and we are delighted to have secured his services after long discussions with his people in New Zealand.
“He is a big ball carrying second row or blindside and the attributes he has certainly fits the bill of what we require at the Blues.
“We were monitoring him before he became an international and were impressed with his performances during the autumn internationals when he was part of the Samoan team that played France, Canada and defeated Wales.
“Filo will be arriving in the Blues in the next few weeks and once he’s settled in the supporters I’m sure will look forward to seeing him in action on the pitch.
Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, Phil Davies, said,
“We are looking at specialist positions in recruitment, such as front row players and scrum halves.
“However, wherever possible in your back five of the scrum or the back five from the half backs, centres, wingers, full backs we are looking for some versatility.
“Because of the restrictions of the salary cap it is important to have certain versatility.
“Taking those principals on board Filo’s ability to play four, five, six or eight was a big influence on him coming here.
“He is only 24 years old and has played Super 15s for Auckland Blues and has played international rugby for Samoa.
“He is the right age profile and has an immaculate injury record, physically he is extremely fit.
“He will definitely add value to the current crop of back five players for us.
“He will be with us all the time, week in week out, and we have four other second rows who are all Welsh qualified.
“His arrival will add strength and depth to the team.”