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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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