All Black Charles Piutau signs for Wasps before 2016 move to Ulster

The 23-year-old will have a short stint in the Premiership.

FUTURE ULSTER BACK Charles Piutau has signed for English Premiership side Wasps on a short-term contract.

The New Zealand international has already agreed to join Ulster in the summer of 2016.

Charles Piutau Piutau will be a menace in Ulster's backline from the summer of 2016 onwards. Inpho / Billy Stickland Inpho / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

Before he moves to Ireland, the Kiwi will spend this season with Wasps, joining the English club when his ITM Cup commitments finish towards the end of October.

“The opportunity arose for us to sign Charles and we jumped at the chance,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young. “We’re really pleased to have been able to bring on board someone of Charles’ quality.

Charles will really add to what we are doing at Wasps. We have a number of players, including Charles, who can cover a number of positions in our backline. Charles can play wing, or full back or centre, just like a number of our guys can interchange.”

Piutau was unlucky to be omitted from Steve Hansen’s final 31-man New Zealand squad for the World Cup after a series of impressive performances on the wing in the Rugby Championship.

Reports in New Zealand suggested that the 23-year-old had hoped to play for the Blues in the 2016 Super Rugby campaign before switching to Ulster, but that prospect was blocked by New Zealand rugby chiefs.

Piutau is currently in New Zealand and has been playing in the ITM Cup with Auckland, starting last weekend’s win over Waikato in the 13 shirt. The former Wesley College man has also excelled from the fullback position during his career.

There was no prospect of Piutau joining Ulster this season given that their quota of non-Irish qualified players is currently full. The likes of Nick Williams and South African Louis Ludik are out of contract at the end of the campaign, freeing up space for Piutau.

Piutau now looks likely to be lining out for Wasps against Leinster in Champions Cup Pool 5 this season.

Wasps have also signed Jimmy Gopperth, Brendan Macken, James Downey, George Smith, Frank Halai, Dan Robson and Jamie Johnston ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.

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