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Lote Tuquri
Lote Tuqiri.JPG
Tuqiri while playing for the Waratahs in 2007
Personal information
Full name Lote Daulako Tuqiri
Nickname Shark[1]
Born 23 September 1979 (1979-09-23) (age 30)
Suva, Fiji
Height 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 102 kg (16 st 1 lb)
Playing information
Rugby league
Position Wing, Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1999–02 Brisbane Broncos 99 56 18 2 262
2010– Wests Tigers 1 1 0 0 4
Total 100 57 18 2 266
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2000 Fiji 3 4 5 0 26
2001–02 Queensland 6 5 4 0 28
2001–02 Australia 5 4 0 0 16
Rugby union
Position Wing, Outside Centre, Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–08 NSW Waratahs 76 27 1 0 138
2009–10 Leicester Tigers 16 3 0 0 15
Total 92 30 1 0 153
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–09 Australia 67 31 0 0 155
As of 15 March, 2010
Source: BBC, RLP and Waratahs Profiles

Lote Daulako Tuqiri (born 23 September, 1979 in Suva, Fiji) is a Fijian/Australian rugby league player and former rugby union player who is currently signed to the Wests Tigers in the NRL and was previously playing rugby union for the Leicester Tigers in the Guinness Premiership in England[2][3] who has represented Australia in both football codes. He usually plays as a winger.

He 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 switched to rugby union in 2002, winning 67 caps for Australia and being a part of their 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cup squads. He also played for the Waratahs in the Super 14.

Tuqiri's contract with the Australian Rugby Union was terminated on 1 July 2009.[4] No immediate reason was given, and Tuqiri indicated that he intended to fight the termination.

Contents

Career

Rugby league

Tuqiri won the Brisbane Broncos' rookie of the year award in 1999. In 2000 he secured his regular spot in the first grade line-up at the club, proving to be a talented winger in the year that Brisbane won their third premiership in four seasons. His partnership with Wendell Sailor on the other wing proved a nightmare for opposition teams to defend against and both players shared the Broncos' top try-scorer position in the 2000 season with 18 apiece. 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 travelled to England as captain of the Fiji national team for the 2000 World Cup. 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 following year Tuqiri was one of many players picked by Queensland for their debut appearance in State of Origin. Tuqiri played for the Maroons in all three matches of the 2001 State of Origin series. His selection proved to be a spectacular success when he scored the Queensland's opening try and played impressively throughout the series, which was won by the Maroons. That season he also went on to play test rugby league for Australia and became recognised as the best winger in the sport. Tuqiri was also the Broncos' top try-scorer for the 2001 season.

Tuqiri's 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. He was picked to represent Australia against New Zealand, scoring a try in the 28-10 victory in the one-off Test match.

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 narrow 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 2001 football season he announced that he had signed a contract to play rugby union in 2002 with the New South Wales Waratahs, and was therefore leaving rugby league. In 2002 he switched codes, moving from rugby league to play rugby with the Waratahs. Tuquri's transition to rugby union proved to be successful, and no one was surprised when 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.

During 2006-07 there was a lot of speculation regarding his future and whether he would stay in rugby union or return to rugby league. 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 Sharks. After being given a 5:00pm 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 after receiving a massive last-minute contract boost by sponsors rumoured to be worth up $1.2 million a season.[citation needed] Souths is believed to have offered Tuqiri about $800,000 a season[citation needed] although the NRL club couldn't compete with the ARU deal, which included several lucrative third-party deals including one with telecommunications giant Vodafone. This would ordinarily have meant that Tuqiri would stay with the Waratahs and the Wallabies till the year 2012[5], but on July 1 the ARU announced an unexplained, immediate termination of the contract.[citation needed] Subsequently, it has been suggested that the reason for the termination of the father of two's contract was that he had entertained a 20 year old student in his room, in breach of strict team rules.[6]

He made his debut for the Leicester Tigers off the bench in the 55th minute against the Springboks on 6th November and the Tigers defeated the World champs.[7]

Return to Rugby League

In February 2010, Tuqiri officially announced a return to rugby league after a 7 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 in to the 2010 NRL season but instead he will return home early to play the Tigers first home game against Manly on Monday night. He played his last game of rugby union against London Irish where his Leicester side won 35-19.[8][9] He scored a try on his first touch of the ball in his return to rugby league.

Incidents

During a 2007 Super 14 game, Tuqiri pushed Sam Norton-Knight in the back after Norton-Knight "made a poor on-field decision".[10]

Notes and references

External links


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