Robust Lee-Lo to add solidity to Canes backs

18:59, Oct 16 2012

Counties-Manukau midfielder Rey Lee-Lo has joined the Hurricanes as coach Mark Hammett fills out the final spots in his 2013 squad.

The 26-year-old has earned his Super Rugby chance after a solid season for Counties during this year's national provincial championship.

A physical second five-eighth or centre at 1.81m and 98kg, he has formed an effective partnership with Chiefs-bound team-mate Bundee Aki under the tutelage of coach Tana Umaga.

It marks a steady rise for Lee-Lo, who made his Counties debut back in 2009 when he made a solitary appearance off the reserves bench against Hawke's Bay.

He started three matches in 2010 in the No 12 jersey then six more last year, when he was a member of the Chiefs development team, before sealing a starting role this season.

He is the fifth midfield option signed by the Hurricanes with Tim Bateman, Jayden Hayward and Alapati Leiua all returning.

Captain Conrad Smith, like loose forward Victor Vito, is yet to finalise his contract negotiations with the New Zealand Rugby Union, though the return of the All Blacks pair to the Hurricanes is likely a formality.

Lee-Lo fills a hole of sorts left by second five-eighth Charlie Ngatai's departure to the Chiefs.

The signing takes the Hurricanes confirmed squad to 26 players after the recent announcement of Taranaki lock Jason Eaton and halves James Marshall and Chris Smylie. Vito and Smith would take the number to 28.