AT 6ft 5ins and 18½ stone, Glasgow Warriors’ latest signing, Walter Fifita, should be a real handful on the wing for the Scotstoun club – so long as he has some pace and basic rugby ability to bring to the party.

But his modest rugby credentials mean he arrives at Scotstoun with a fair bit to prove. 

The 24-year-old, who has already started training with the squad and is available to play immediately, will compete against Rufus McLean, Kyle Steyn, Sebastian Cancelliere, Ratu Tagive (when fit again) and Cole Forbes for game-time. 

After an undistinguished period playing club rugby in the Counties Manukau region of southern Auckland, New Zealand-born Fifita spent the 2018-19 season in Spain where he scored 13 tries in 16 matches for El Salvador, before returning home to play for North Harbour.

He managed three appearances and one try as his team were relegated from the top-tier Premiership Division to the second-tier Championship Division at the end of the 2020 NPC campaign. 

His Tongan heritage qualified him to be selected as one of 13 debutants in the match-day squad when the world’s 15thranked team were hammered 102-0 by New Zealand in early July. 

He went on to make two more appearances for Tonga this summer, coming off the bench again in a 37-15 World Cup Qualifier defeat to Samoa, before scoring a try on his first international start to help his team to a 54-10 victory over the Cook Islands. 

North Harbour managed just two games in early August of this year’s NPC before Covid travel restrictions brought their activity to a halt, andFifita didn’t play in either. 

He is just the type of individual that Scottish Rugby enjoy taking a punt on, with mixed results. An impressive physical specimen who has the potential to be a real asset if a bit of focus can be added and a few rough edges can be smoothed out.

South African winger Duhan van der Merwe was one of the successes, American back-row Langilangi Haupeakui was one of the failures, and – with the jury still out – Ratu Tagive falls somewhere in between. 

However, questions are bound to be asked about why this opportunity to stretch himself at one of Scotland’s two pro sides has not been handed to a player from Super6, the part-time professional league which has been set up to bridge the gap between the club and pro games. 

Stirling County’s Logan Trotter trained with Warriors during pre-season and played 40 minutes against Newcastle Falcons but then picked up an injury and is still two or three weeks away from being fit again.

Other potential candidates from the league are Callum Young of Heriot’s, Jacob Henry of Southern Knights (a member of the Edinburgh Academy programmer), Harvey Elms of Watsonians, Jordan Edmunds of Boroughmuir Bears and Robbie Nairn of Ayrshire Bulls (who was released by Warriors at the end of last season).

There is also current Glasgow academy player Finlay Callaghan, who might still be a bit wet behind the ears but needs game time. 

“I’m pretty stoked to sign for Glasgow and start this new chapter in my career," said Fifita. "I can’t wait to step out onto the field with these guys and I’m really happy. 

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I want to thank both my agent and Glasgow for presenting me with it. 

“I love to carry the ball and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do on the field.” 

Wilson added: “He’s a big, abrasive player who we believe can be a real asset to us out wide.” 

Meanwhile, Warriors scrum-half Jamie Dobie says he is hopeful of making Scotland’s training squad when it is announced today ahead of their four-match Autumn Tests schedule, but recognises that he faces stiff competition from Lions tourist Ali Price, George Horne, Ben Vellacott and Scott Steele. 

“There’s a lot of scrum-halves in Scotland and across the whole UK who are looking to get into those places, so there isn’t space for everyone,” said the 20-yar-old. “Hopefully, in whatever capacity it is, I can be involved. 

“You learn stuff every single training session when you are working with these boys, from the other scrum-halves and beyond that with the likes of Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg. 

“These guys have so much experience to pass on, both on the field and off it, with the leadership side of things and high-performance behaviours. 

“I know that I‘ve just got to keep focussing on the games I’m playing in with at Glasgow first. 

“I’ll just have to see how it progresses over the next couple of weeks.”