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Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugby?

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Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugby?

Postby RugbySwizzie » Mon, 10 Apr 2017, 20:36

Niue is probably not a rugby national team you have heard a lot about. The tiny rock in the pacific islands is no traditional rugby powerhouse like its neighbours Fiji, Samoa or Tonga, however, I made an interesting discovery when going through some old rugby sevens stats from the 2009 world series. Niue had qualified to play at the Wellington leg and made some buzz when they beat Samoa in their shield semi final before finally losing to Scotland in the Shield final. One very young player who was on field during this tournament was Toni (or sometimes referred to as Tony) Pulu. The young man was very talented and 3 years later appeared in the Counties Manukau roster for the 2012 ITM Cup. After four successful years, he was added to the Chiefs 2016 Super Rugby Squad. Only last weekend, he was involved in a game against the Stormers and scored two terrific tries during the process. It is proofed that this is the same guy that represented Niue in the Sevens tournament back in 2009. However, being born in Los Angeles and benefitted through the olympic sevens loophole, it appears to be understandable if he would have chosen to play for the USA which are far stronger than Niue, who are ranked 86th in the world rankings, having played their last game back in 2011. However, I found a picture which shows him playing for the national union team during the 2009 Oceania Cup against the Cook Islands. This means a fully professional Chiefs player is eligible for the third tier polynesian rugby country! In my opinion, that's a wonderful story. Let's hope Niue will rebuild their national team, as it looks rugby is still played on the island.

As I didn't find out how to upload pictures on this page, here are the links for the pictures I referred to:

Wellington Sevens Series Tournament 2009: http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Tony+Pulu/Tom+Powell

Toni Pulu vs the Cook Islands: http://spranger.photoshelter.com/image? ... A--&GI_ID=

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby ARHS » Wed, 23 May 2018, 04:11


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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 23 May 2018, 20:06

ARHS wrote:Niue? USA? New Zealand? Tonga?

https://www.radionz.co.nz/international ... onga-radar

Uh, Tonga trying to get DQd too?

Olympic loophole is the only way for him to represent someone else and that would be the US or NZ (provided he has a NZ passport by now).

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby Warpath » Thu, 24 May 2018, 22:46

yep if WR find out, they will sanction Tonga, lets not tell them :P

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby Gen Santa » Fri, 25 May 2018, 02:06

let them know, then cook islands will automatically qualify :)

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby RugbyLiebe » Fri, 25 May 2018, 06:15

Gen Santa wrote:let them know, then cook islands will automatically qualify :)


Might actually be worth a search. If Tonga has ineligible players, Samoa goes directly. So Germany will be also through or play the Cookies (No team left from Oceania).

If Samoa and Tonga would have fielded ineligible players (and them being the nations with most foreign born players, that's not that unrealistic), all Oceania teams apart from Fiji, New Zealand and Australia would have been disqualified :D
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby JLJordaan » Fri, 25 May 2018, 06:18

This might be another bomb waiting to explode! :shock:
Wouldn't be surprised though.

RugbyLiebe wrote:So Germany will be also through or play the Cookies (No team left from Oceania).


First win the game against Portugal ;)

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby RugbyLiebe » Fri, 25 May 2018, 06:25

JLJordaan wrote:This might be another bomb waiting to explode! :shock:
Wouldn't be surprised though.

RugbyLiebe wrote:So Germany will be also through or play the Cookies (No team left from Oceania).


First win the game against Portugal ;)


YOu never know who else fielded ineligble players, we might see both teams at the RWC :lol:

Joking aside, you are right, Portugal will already be a tough game for us.
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby Warpath » Fri, 15 Jun 2018, 05:21

i noticed Pulu was "silently" dropped by Tonga, looks like they figured it out but kept it under the radar..

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby The Captain's Run » Fri, 06 Jul 2018, 16:49

Warpath wrote:i noticed Pulu was "silently" dropped by Tonga, looks like they figured it out but kept it under the radar..


Or not: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international ... y-recruits

It's odd that the Tongan union has successfully used the Olympic loophole yet seems to be confused about the nature of capping players through 7s (first by stating to Romania that one of their owned capped players was available to them, and now this). He certainly won't be available for the tests in November or anything else before the first Olympic qualifier for Tonga. Assuming the schedule for those qualifiers is roughly the same as that of the 2016 cycle, that will include the World Cup.

If either the U.S. or New Zealand are interested in Pulu and the interest is mutual, they would have a leg up on Tonga since they could use the loophole before RWC 2019. New Zealand would need to play him during the upcoming Sevens World Series since they are unlikely to miss qualification and play in further tournaments. The U.S. is a dark horse for a top four finish and if they miss out, it would only take an appearance by Pulu at the RAN qualifier to use the loophole.

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Re: Do Niue (WR 86) have a professional player in Super Rugb

Postby Immenso » Sat, 07 Jul 2018, 06:55

The article also has Kefu mentioning Pauliasi Manu. Manu was actually in the All Black RWC in 2015 as injury replacement. NZ got down to their 4th choice LHP. But he didn't play a game. He has RWC winners' medal. Not sue if he was on the bench and an in-used substitute, or if he never made any match day 23 ?

Genuinely not sure what impact this has on his eligibility.

Edit. Just checked the lineups for semi and final ( he was brought in after Crockett was injured in quarter final) and he didn't make the 23. NZ had other props already in the squad who covered both sides of the scrum as replacements for this games.

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