|Birth name||Tonga Lea'aetoa|
|Date of birth||4 March 1977|
|Place of birth||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||123 kg (19 st 5 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
Tonga Lea'aetoa (born 4 March 1977 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a retired New Zealand-Tongan rugby union player who last played for Bayonne in the French Top 14. Lea'aetoa's position of choice was Tighthead prop.
Lea'aetoa's parents came from Tonga, he spent his childhood in Australia in Manly, Sydney. It was when he returned to New Zealand to attend boarding school at Auckland Grammar School that rugby union took over his sporting career at the age of 16. He started out as a centre, then played at full back and as a No 8 before ending up as a prop. The unusual shift of position was due to a change in his metabolism that saw him put on 20 kilogrammes between the ages of 17 and 18. The Tongan international was a relative latecomer to rugby union only taking up the sport 14 years ago[ when? ] in New Zealand. During his time in Sydney he spent several years at the Northern Suburbs Rugby Club.
Lea'aetoa arrived in England in July 2006 with a reputation as one of the most talented and versatile prop forwards in Europe. He is one of those rare individuals that can play effectively on either side of the front row, but more often would play at Tighthead
His skill and versatility earned him 19 caps for his country to date. He was ever present for London Irish in the 2009–10 season, being the only player to play in all 31 games, a feat that saw him receive the club's 'Players' Player of the Season Award'.
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