EVERY time Samy Kibula steps on a rugby field, he is representing a nation.

While he has lived almost all his life in the north west, the prop’s journey actually started 6,000 miles away from Warrington in Kinshasa – the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kibula’s family moved to England when he was a toddler, but the 20-year-old has not forgotten his roots.

“I was born in Kinshasa but moved here when I was two,” he said.

“I started playing rugby when I was four and it’s just gone from there.

“Obviously, there’s not many Congolese rugby players around. I do feel like I’m representing them every time I pull a shirt on.

“If I can inspire more Congolese players to play the game, that can only be a good thing.”

Even for a young man, Kibula is an imposing presence – he stands at 6ft 4ins tall and tips the scales at almost 18 stone.

He certainly has all the ingredients to be a star in Super League, but he found minutes hard to come by at Wigan Warriors having shone for their academy.

Indeed, he arrives at The Halliwell Jones Stadium having made just one first grade appearance – against Huddersfield in 2018.

Warrington Guardian:

Kibula in pre-season training with The Wire. Picture by Mike Boden

Last year, while the likes of Oliver Partington, Liam Byrne and Morgan Smithies jumped the queue ahead of him, Kibula was left frustrated.

“I’ve always wanted to play first-team rugby and I know I’ve got the ability to do it,” he said.

“The fact I haven’t over the past year or two has annoyed me.

“I’ve got to pick my chin up and keep working hard. If I do that, I know I’ll get my shot.

“I definitely feel I have a point to prove. A lot of fans have written me off and have said I’m not good enough.

“I’ve had it my whole career and I want to prove people wrong.”

It may have surprised many when Steve Price came calling for Kibula and made him The Wire’s third new signing for 2020 when the deal was confirmed in September.

His arrival has gone somewhat under the radar and with a deal lasting only until the end of this coming season, the pressure is on to impress.

Supporters had been clamouring for a front-rower to be signed to bolster the pack – the likes of Zane Tetevano and Sam Lisone were widely linked before Gold Coast Titans powerhouse Leilani Latu was signed earlier this week.

For Kibula, his focus is on showing fans that he can be the man they were looking for.

At the very least, he is treating this experience as a learning curve.

“In the past few years at Wigan, I’ve been training with the likes of Sean O’Loughlin, Tony Clubb and Ben Flower,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot from them and now I’ve come here, I’m looking forward to working with players like Chris Hill and Mike Cooper.

“Hopefully I can pick up a few things from them because they are both experienced, quality players.

“I know there’s a lot of hard work to do first – Pricey makes it clear that you have to earn your shot here.

“Once I do, I’ll show the Warrington fans what I’ve got. I’ll give my all every time I pull that shirt on.”