Tyla Hepi signs Tigers extension

Posted: Saturday 25th September 2021 - 8:00 PM

Hepi initially joined the Tigers ahead of the 2020 season from Betfred Championship side Toulouse Olympique, and is considered to be federation trained, therefore does not count on the club’s overseas quota.

The New Zealander is known for his fearless bulldozing forward runs with the ball and producing some massive hits when defending and will now be staying with Castleford until the end of the 2023 season.

After signing his new deal, Tyla explained to castlefordtigers.com just how pleased he is to be extending his stay at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle. 

“I’m very excited! I’ve enjoyed my time at Castleford already and I have learned a lot from the boys that have been here with me for those two years. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

“I’ve got my house here and have some good friends in the community and we are a pretty tight nit group at Cas. I am really excited to crack on for another two years and really start pushing to make a name for myself.”

The prop has made almost 20 Betfred Super League appearances since arriving at the Fords in 2020, and Hepi declared he is hungry for much more.

“I am very eager and working really hard. Next year I am going to be relentless in going for that starting spot. I have been here two years now and have set a solid foundation, so for me it is time to crack on.”

It was an emotional send-off for the players and coaching staff after the Fords’ final game of the season against Warrington, with Cas fans loyally staying behind following the final whistle to show their appreciation.

Touching on the departing players and coaches, the 28-year-old outlined just how much they had an impact on him personally.  

“There have been some very special boys who have been here for the two years that I have been at Cas. Personally, they have had a big impact on me in terms of teaching me things that I didn’t know before I came here. I’m not just talking about stuff on the field but also in life. They’re a very special group and it is going to be sad to see them go.

“Powelly is the one who brought me to the club, so I have the utmost respect for him for opening the Super League door for me. He is a very smart and intelligent coach, and he has taught me a lot of things in terms of the game aspect. I have always listened to everything he has said, and I’ve taken it all on board. I’m very grateful to have met him and have that door opened for me.”

Lee Radford’s work as the new Head Coach of the Castleford Tigers has already begun, with new signings drafted in with the likes of Jake Mamo, Kenny Edwards, and Alex Sutcliffe coming to Wheldon Road.

When asked about the impressive additions to the squad and being a part of a new era at Castleford, Hepi shared how much he is looking forward to working under Radford in what is an exciting time for the club.

“There are good new faces coming in, high calibre players. I know Kenny Edwards; I have known him when we were both in France and both being Kiwis. He is a good fella and with Radders coming in everyone is pretty excited to have him on board. He is going to be a fresh face around here which will bring new coaching ideas and a new attitude of coaching.

“I think it is an exciting time for the club and Castleford as a whole!”

In closing, the New Zealander had a personal message to the Fords faithful and showed his appreciation for their continuous backing over the last two years.

“I’d like to say thank you to every who has supported me personally and a bigger thank you to everyone who has supported the club as a whole. These last two years have been a bit up and down in terms of Covid and the way things have panned out. It has been real tough but our fans have stayed faithful because the fans have always been with us.

“Also, with people donating their season ticket money and not even being able to come to the club, I think that says there is something special about the community. I know a bit of history about the club and way back when everyone stayed strong and stayed living in Castleford way after the mines closed. That shows a real sense of spirit in Castleford as a whole and we feel that down here.

“From me personally, thank you guys and I look forward to seeing you all soon!”

Head Coach of Castleford Tigers Lee Radford spoke about the retention of Tyla Hepi’s services and said: “Tyla plays with a really good energy. I like what he does and what he brings to the team.

“I actually played with his dad which is a sign of my age!

“He’s a real honest working front-rower and one I am really looking forward to coaching.”

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