Lote Tuqiri

Last updated

Lote Tuqiri
Lote Tuqiri Australia.jpg
Personal information
Full nameLote Daulako Tuqiri
Born (1979-09-23) 23 September 1979 (age 39) [1]
Korolevu, Fiji [2]
Playing information
Height191 cm (6 ft 3 in) [1]
Weight102 kg (16 st 1 lb) [1]
Rugby league
Position Wing, Centre
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1999–02 Brisbane Broncos 9956180260
2010–13 Wests Tigers 522700108
2014 South Sydney 1670028
Total16790180396
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
2000–14 Fiji 457034
2001–02 Queensland 654028
2001–10 Australia 950020
Rugby union
Position Wing, Centre
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
2003–09 NSW Waratahs 892910148
2009–10 Leicester Tigers 1630015
2013 Leinster 20000
Total1073210163
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
2003–09 Australia 673000150
Source: [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Lote Daulako Tuqiri (born 23 September 1979) is a Fijian-Australian former professional dual-code rugby footballer who last played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. He represented Australia in both rugby league and rugby union, and Fiji in rugby league. He usually played as a winger in both codes. Tuqiri first rose to prominence as a rugby league player for the Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Maroons, as well as the Fiji and Australia national sides. He was therefore a high-profile signing for rugby union in 2002, winning 67 caps for Australia and being a part of their 2003 and 2007 World Cup squads. He played rugby union for the Waratahs in the Super 14 and Leicester Tigers in England in season 2009–10. Tuqiri's contract with the Australian Rugby Union was terminated on 1 July 2009. [8] No immediate reason was given, and Tuqiri returned to rugby league in 2010, playing for the Wests Tigers of the NRL. In September 2013, he signed a short-term contract with Irish rugby union giants, Leinster to play in the Pro12 in a three-month deal. [9] Just 6 weeks out from the 2014 NRL season, Tuqiri signed with his third NRL club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs on a one-year deal.

Fiji Country in Oceania

Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The most outlying island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760. The capital, Suva, on Viti Levu, serves as the country's principal cruise-ship port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry—or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount. Due to its terrain, the interior of Viti Levu is sparsely inhabited.

Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union, but generally refers to rugby union due to its popularity throughout the globe.

South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league football club

The South Sydney Rabbitohs are a professional Australian rugby league team based in Redfern, a suburb of inner-southern Sydney, New South Wales. They participate in the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership and are one of nine existing teams from the state capital. They are often called Souths and The Bunnies.

Contents

Background

Tuqiri was born in Korolevu, Fiji to mother Titilia and father Tukula and grew up in Namatakula with family including older sister Mela, older brother Tevita and sister Sereana. [10] He moved to Australia with his family at the age of 15, settling at Sunnybank, Queensland (a suburb of Brisbane) where he began playing competitive sport for the Souths Sunnybank Rugby League [11] while attending school at Sunnybank State High School. [12]

Namatakula is a village located in Fiji on the Coral Coast. The population is approximately 2,522.

Sunnybank, Queensland Suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Sunnybank is a suburb in the City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Sunnybank had a population of 8697 people.

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.5 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the historic European settlement and is situated inside a peninsula of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs)—most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is "Brisbanite" or "Brisbanian".

Professional career

While signed with the Brisbane Broncos, he also played for the Past Brothers in the Queensland Cup. [13]

Brisbane Broncos rugby league football club

The Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Football Club Ltd., commonly referred to as the Brisbane Broncos or colloquially as Red Hill, are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the city of Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland. Founded in April 1988, the Broncos play in Australia's elite competition, the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership. They have won six premierships,including two NSWRL titles, a Super League premiership and three NRL premierships. They also have two World Club Challenges. The Broncos have achieved four minor premierships during their 29 years in multiple competitions, making them Rugby League's most successful club over the past three decades. Until 2015, Brisbane had never been defeated in a grand final, and since 1991, have only failed to qualify for the finals twice. They are the most successful club in the National Rugby League, since it began in 1998, winning three premierships. It is also one of the most successful clubs in the history of rugby league, having won 62.5% of games played since its induction in 1988, second only to Melbourne Storm with 65.2%. Since the club's founding, Brisbane has never received the wooden spoon.

Past Brothers

The Past Brothers Rugby League Football Club, or Brisbane Brothers Rugby League Football Club nicknamed the Leprechauns, or more commonly known as Brothers, or as The Brethren, was a rugby league club based in the city of Brisbane, Australia, that played in the top level of football from its foundation in 1929 until 1998. The club previously played in the Queensland Cup and the Brisbane Rugby League premiership, but no longer plays in those competitions.

Queensland Cup

The Queensland Cup is the top level of rugby league football in Queensland, Australia. Run by the QRL, the competition is known as the Intrust Super Cup due to sponsorship from Intrust Super and is contested by fourteen teams, twelve of which are based in Queensland, with one based in New South Wales and one based in Papua New Guinea.

Rugby league

Tuqiri won the 1999 Brisbane Broncos season's rookie of the year award. In 2000 he secured his regular spot in the first grade line-up at the club. His partnership with Wendell Sailor on the other wing proved a nightmare for opposition teams to defend against and both players shared the club's top try-scorer position with 18 each. The considerable size of both wingers also made it as though there were two extra forwards on the field, allowing pressure to be taken off the forward pack. This contributed greatly to the Broncos' dominance of the NRL in this period. At the end of the season Tuqiri played for the Broncos on the wing, scoring one try in their 2000 NRL Grand Final win over the Sydney Roosters. After that he travelled to England as captain of the Fiji national team for the 2000 World Cup. [14] The Bati failed to advance past the group stage, winning one of their three matches, but Tuqiri was his team's top try and goal scorer for the tournament.

The 1999 Brisbane Broncos season was the twelfth in the club's history. Coached by Wayne Bennett and captained by Allan Langer then Kevin Walters, they competed in the NRL's 1999 premiership, finishing the regular season 8th and reaching the finals but losing their first play-off match.

Wendell Sailor Australian dual code rugby player

Wendell Jermaine Sailor is an Australian former professional rugby footballer who represented his country in both rugby league and rugby union – a dual code international.

The 2000 NRL grand final was the conclusive and premiership-deciding game of the 2000 NRL season. It was contested by the Brisbane Broncos, who had finished the season in 1st place, and the Sydney Roosters, who had finished the season in 2nd place. The Brisbane Broncos were favourites heading into the grand final with the Sydney Roosters as underdogs. Brisbane were premiership favourites for most of the season after leading the competition every round since Round 4. It was their fifth Grand Final appearance in nine years, while it was the first for the Roosters in twenty years. The attendance of 94,277 was the second highest ever seen at a rugby league match in Australia.

Having won the 2000 NRL Premiership, the Broncos travelled to England to play against 2000's Super League V Champions, St Helens R.F.C. for the 2001 World Club Challenge, with Tuqiri playing on the wing in Brisbane's loss. Tuqiri was one of many players picked by Queensland for their debut appearance during the 2001 State of Origin series. He played in all three matches and his selection proved to be a success when he scored Queensland's opening try and played impressively throughout the series, which was won by the Maroons. During the season he also went on to play test football for Australia. He was picked to represent Australia against New Zealand, scoring a try in the 28–10 victory in the one-off Test match. Tuqiri was also the Broncos' top try-scorer for the 2001 season with 21, the second highest number of tries scored in a season by a Brisbane player. At the end of the season, he went on the Kangaroo tour.

Tetley's Bitter Super League was the official name for the year 2000's Super League championship season, the 106th season of top-level professional rugby league football in Britain, and the fifth championship run by Super League. The season culminated in the Grand Final between St Helens R.F.C. and Wigan Warriors, which St Helens won, claiming their second consecutive Championship.

St Helens R.F.C. rugby league club

St Helens R.F.C. is a professional rugby league club in St Helens, Merseyside who compete in the Super League, the top tier of competition for rugby league in Europe.

The 2001 World Club Challenge was contested between Super League V champions, St. Helens and 2000 NRL season premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. The Broncos made the trip to England to play St Helens before the start of the 2001 NRL and Super League seasons and were beaten by two late drop goals from the home side in the final minutes.

As early as January 2002 it was being reported that the Australian Rugby Union was seeking Tuqiri's signature. [15] His 2002 season was also an impressive one, and he showed much of his renowned strength and speed, in round 9 setting a new club record for most points scored by one player in a single match. Once more he topped the Broncos' try-scoring ladder for the season (along with Darren Lockyer and Chris Walker) and again he represented both Queensland and Australia. Playing in all three games of the 2002 State of Origin series, Tuqiri scored in each match, amassing a total of 28 points. He also became one of a select few players to score a hat-trick in an interstate match. At the 2002 Dally M Awards he was named as winger of the year. [16]

Darren Lockyer Australia rugby league player

Darren James Lockyer is an Australian television commentator and former rugby league footballer. Lockyer was an Australian international and Queensland State representative captain, who played his entire professional career with the Brisbane Broncos. He is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time.

Chris Walker (rugby league) Australian rugby league player

Chris Walker is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 2000s and 2010s. A Queensland State of Origin representative winger, he played his club football in the National Rugby League for the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm, Gold Coast Titans and Parramatta Eels. Walker also had a stint in the Super League for French club Catalans Dragons. He is the younger brother of fellow professional NRL players Shane Walker and Ben Walker. At one point in the late 1990s all three brothers were playing together for the Brisbane Broncos.

The 2002 State of Origin series saw the 21st time that the annual three-game series between the Queensland and New South Wales representative rugby league football teams was played entirely under 'state of origin' selection rules. It was the second drawn series in four years and being the second default title retention by Queensland, it ignited protests from the New South Wales camp eventually accepted by the NRL, for the introduction of extra-time to State of Origin matches was introduced to ensure a definitive result.

At the end of the season, after the announcement of his switch to rugby union, he was overlooked for selection in the end of season Test against New Zealand. [17]

Altogether, Tuqiri played 99 games for Brisbane between 1999 and 2002 and clocked up a tally of 260 points before his much-publicised switch to rugby union. His last game for the Broncos was the 16–12 preliminary final loss against eventual premiers the Sydney Roosters, whom the Broncos beat in the 2000 decider.

Rugby union

Tuqiri's talent attracted the interest of the Australian Rugby Union, and at the end of the 2002 football season he announced that he had signed a contract to play rugby union in 2003 with the New South Wales Waratahs, and was therefore leaving rugby league. In 2003 he switched codes, moving from rugby league to play rugby with the Waratahs. Tuqiri's transition to rugby union proved to be successful, and his speed and strength gained him selection for the Wallabies, for whom he made his international union debut in June 2003 against Ireland, becoming Australia's 43rd dual code rugby international.

He was one of four former Queensland Maroons players to feature in two of the top three teams in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, along with Mat Rogers and Wendell Sailor for Australia and Brad Thorn for the All Blacks. Tuqiri scored tries against Romania and Namibia during the pool stages, and scored the Wallabies' only try in the final against England. He finished the tournament as one of the top try scorers for Australia, behind Rogers and Chris Latham.

In 2004 Tuqiri toured the United Kingdom and France with the Wallabies. On the Wallabies 2005 tour of Europe he was moved in-field to centre due to a considerable loss of backs through injury during that tour. In 2006 he was selected to represent Australia in the Rugby Sevens event at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. That season the Waratahs were semi-finalists in the Super 14 competition. During that year's Tri Nations series Tuqiri was suspended for five games after a dangerous tackle on All Blacks captain, Richie McCaw.

Tuqiri while playing for the Waratahs in 2007 Lote Tuqiri.JPG
Tuqiri while playing for the Waratahs in 2007

During 2006–07 there was speculation regarding his future and whether he would stay in rugby union or return to rugby league.[ citation needed ] Tuqiri had stated that he was considering returning to league after the 2007 Rugby World Cup, following the footsteps of fellow Waratah Mat Rogers. Tuqiri had options to re-sign his contract with either the Waratahs or the Reds in the Super 14, or numerous clubs in the NRL, including the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. After being given a 5:00 pm deadline on 13 March 2007 to either accept or decline the offer from the Australian Rugby Union he announced he had decided to stay in rugby union for the next five years. During a 2007 Super 14 game, Tuqiri pushed Sam Norton-Knight in the back after Norton-Knight "made a poor on-field decision". [18]

Tuqiri's contract would ordinarily have meant that he would stay with the Waratahs and the Wallabies till the year 2012, [19] but on 1 July 2009 the ARU announced an unexplained, immediate termination of the contract. [20] Subsequently, it has been suggested that the reason for the termination of his contract was that he had entertained a 20-year-old student in his room, in breach of strict team rules. [21]

He made his debut for the Leicester Tigers off the bench against the Springboks on 6 November 2009 and the Tigers defeated the World cup holders. [22]

Return to rugby league

Tuqiri playing for North Sydney Bears in 2014 Lote Tuqiri 2014.jpg
Tuqiri playing for North Sydney Bears in 2014

In February 2010, Tuqiri officially announced a return to rugby league after a seven-year absence. Signing a three-year deal with NRL club Wests Tigers, he was due to arrive in Australia at the end of March, a few weeks into the 2010 NRL season but instead he returned home early to play the Tigers' first home game in the 2010 season against Manly. He played his last game of rugby union against London Irish where his Leicester side won 35–19. [23] [24] In his return to rugby league, he scored a try on his first touch of the ball, and at least one try in each of his first three games including a double against the Parramatta Eels on 26 March. His form in his return season for the Tigers continued to be strong [25] and the club came within one match of the 2010 Grand Final.

On 19 October 2010, Tuqiri was officially named in the Australian squad for the Four Nations as a replacement for the injured Jarryd Hayne. [26] He played for the Kangaroos in all four matches, including the final, scoring one try. He became the first code-crosser to play test rugby league for Australia a second time after returning from rugby union. [27]

Wests Tigers made the semis again in 2011, but Tuqiri was limited to 9 appearances for the season, suffering a broken arm, quad strain and an injury to his ankle. [28] Similarly, injury disrupted his 2012 season. He played his first game in round 5, and was a regular on the wing before breaking his upper arm in July. Coach Sheens said at the time, "The arm’s broken, so that’ll be the end of his season." [29]

Before the start of the 2013 season, Tuqiri suffered a setback when scans revealed his broken arm had not healed. He had plates inserted into the arm and underwent bone grafts. [30] He eventually made his return to first grade in round 23, playing in four games for his final season with Wests Tigers.

In September 2013, he signed a short-term contract with Irish rugby union team, Leinster to play in the Pro12 in a three-month deal. [9]

On January 22, six weeks out from the 2014 NRL season, Tuqiri signed with his third NRL club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, on a one-year deal. This deal is reportedly to add depth to the significantly reduced outside back stocks at the club. Tuqiri's rugby league career was expected to be over following the conclusion of the 2013 NRL season when his previous club, the Wests Tigers opted not to offer Tuqiri an extension to his contract after several injury-plagued season significantly reduced his on-field involvement for the club.

In May 2014, Tuqiri played for Fiji in the 2014 Pacific Rugby League International. He kicked two goals, and scored a try, but it wasn't enough as Fiji lost the match by 32–16. Tuqiri turned 35 during the 2014 season and was the oldest player in the NRL at the time. [31]

On 5 October 2014, Tuqiri was a part of the South Sydney side who defeated the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30–6 in the 2014 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. It was Tuqiri's second NRL title in his career, having won a previous NRL Premiership with the Brisbane Broncos earlier in his career. [32] [33]

Family

Tuqiri is the cousin of his namesake, Fijian-born Japanese Rugby Sevens player Lote Tuqiri.

See also

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