THE Dragons have signed “tough and uncompromising” Tonga back rower Solomone Funaki to add to the ball-carrying options next season.

The 30-year-old, who specialises at number eight but can play across the back row, will arrive this summer from Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby.

He becomes the Dragons first signing for next season after South African centre/back Chris Hollis become the second player after tighthead Dmitri Arhip to join on a short-term deal for the United Rugby Championship run-in to try and earn a permanent move.

Funaki was a member of Tonga’s squad at last year’s World Cup and came off the bench against Ireland.

The Dragons have retained their Wales back row pair of Aaron Wainwright and Taine Basham, now have added a destructive option.

Head Coach Dai Flanagan said: “We’re excited that Solomone is moving to the Dragons and look forward to the massive impact we know he can make with us.

South Wales Argus: RECRUIT: The Dragons have signed Solomone Funaki for next season from Moana PasifikaRECRUIT: The Dragons have signed Solomone Funaki for next season from Moana Pasifika (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“He’s a tough and uncompromising man, someone who always wins collisions, and his ability to play across the back row will mean other players can thrive around him.

“I’ve spoken to a number of people who know and have played alongside Solomone and they have nothing but praise for him as both a person and performer.

“He’s a family man and a real leader of men, with international and Super Rugby experience.

“We look forward to Solomone making his journey over to us and wish him well in the remaining weeks of the Super Rugby season.”

Funaki has played club rugby for Hawke’s Bay Magpies since 2018 and was involved with the Hurricanes before moving to Moana.

He captained the Pacific Island side and won player of the year for his 2023 campaign.

Funaki said: “Having spoken to Dai earlier in the year about his focus for next season, I am excited to be a part of his team and test myself in the URC and play in front of the passionate fans at Rodney Parade.

“Special mention to the Moana Pasifika and Hawke’s Bay Magpies for the past few years, I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“I’m looking forward to a strong finish this Super Rugby season with my Moana family.”

South Wales Argus: DEAL: South African back Chris Hollis has arrived at the Dragons on a short-term dealDEAL: South African back Chris Hollis has arrived at the Dragons on a short-term deal (Image: Dragons RFC)

Hollis, who can play centre or wing, has already arrived on a short-term contract after a spell with the Stormers.

The 6ft 3ins back could face the South Africans in their next URC clash in Newport a week on Friday.

That fixture is followed by the derbies against the Ospreys in Swansea and Scarlets at the Cardiff City Stadium Judgement Day.

The 25-year-old will attempt to impress the Dragons coaching staff and push for a permanent deal next season.

Head coach Dai Flanagan said: “Chris is a player who wants game time and is a big ball carrier and man who can make his mark here.

“I first noticed Chris several years ago when he was playing for the Southern Kings, and I’ve followed him ever since and been a big fan of his.

“Chris can play multiple positions so adds great depth to our squad and is someone who we feel can be a real asset to us.”

Hollis played youth rugby for the Bulls before featuring for the Kings, Griquas and Lions before heading to the Stormers.