Parker Pen Challenge Cup holders NEC Harlequins have signed Samoan international Steven So'oialo.
The 32-times capped scrum-half joins Quins on a two-year contract from English Division One runners-up Orrell and will compete for a starting berth next season with Irishman Simon Keogh.
The 27-year-old So'oialo, older brother of All Black Rodney So'oialo, is currently with the Pacific Islanders squad preparing for the formidable task of facing the All Blacks in Auckland, but has played for Manu Samoa since 1998 and represented his country at the 1999 and 2003 World Cups. He arrives at the Stoop at the end of the month.
"Steven brings with him a wealth of experience to a key position within the team," said NEC Harlequins Chief Executive Mark Evans. "And I'm confident he will become a valuable member of the Quins squad as we seek to improve further on last season's performance."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.