Barba makes St Helens move

St Helens confirmed the signing of former NRL star Ben Barba on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Barba, a former Dally M Medallist, was axed by Top 14 side Toulon earlier this month, ending his brief stint in rugby union.

The 27-year-old had been released by the Cronulla Sharks at the end of last year after a positive drugs test, having helped the club win the 2016 NRL premiership.

Barba's move to St Helens was confirmed on Wednesday, with the Super League side using the new marquee player rule.

"I've known Ben for some time and am confident that he will add a new dimension to the Saints and is a great capture for Super League. He is a multi-talented and world class rugby league player," Saints head coach Justin Holbrook said.

"Everyone in the team will benefit from him joining us and are really looking forward to his arrival. The fans also have a lot to look forward to.

"Given Ben's abilities and reputation, his signing was extremely competitive and the club have done exceptionally well to secure him.

"It is not often that players of his calibre become available and the club has pulled out all the stops to fight off competition from both rugby codes around the world.

"I am also grateful for their support to me for my first signing as the new head coach."

Barba is yet to serve a 12-match ban handed down by the NRL and that suspension is likely to apply to the Super League, although St Helens said they would be "seeking further and final clarification".

St Helens are seventh in the Super League after winning six of 14 games this season.

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