14th April 2014

THURSDAY sees the return of one of the club's all-time greats in the shape of former powerhouse winger Lesley Vainikolo. 

The 'Volcano' is making a special guest hospitality appearance in The Provident Stadium's Legends Suite this week, where he will be wining and dining with Bradford Bulls supporters ahead of the West Yorkshire derby.

Vainikolo spent six years with the Bulls and was a part of the treble-winning team in 2003, which claimed a League Leaders Shield, a Challenge Cup and a Super League title – before going on to be crowned World Club champions.

On Thursday evening, he and his family are coming back where it all began – in 2002 – to cast his eyes on the action from the greatest vantage point the stadium has to offer.

“The club is looking much better following the takeover and I am excited to see where it goes from here with a new owner and board at the helm,” said Vainikolo.

“I cannot wait for the game and it is going to be very special returning to place where it all began for me – after all these years.

“The derbies are always so special, they bring out the best in players and provided me with some of my greatest memories.

“I think it goes without saying, I enjoyed the best years of my playing career with the Bulls – and I love the club.

“And that is why I really wanted to come over for this game, see how things are going and show my family where it started for me.”

Vainikolo departed Bradford for a career in the 15-man code back in 2007, agreeing a three-year deal with Premiership outfit Gloucester.

Having already made a dozen appearances for New Zealand, as a rugby league player, he went on to become a dual-code international after appearing on five seperate occasions for England – as a rugby union star.

Vainikolo, 34, has recently hung up his boots and settled in France, having enjoyed spells with La Rochelle and Rugby Athletic Club Angerien.

He is to take up a coaching role with the Saint-Jean-d'Angely-based Angerien outfit, but not before enjoying another battle between two arch rivals.

Vainikolo added: “I feel like I am coming home this week and it is really exciting. I look forward to catching up with Bulls fans, new and old, and spending time with old friends.

“Hopefully, the Bradford supporters will get behind the boys on Thursday night as they look to get the job done against the Rhinos.”