Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leinster Capture Wallabies Star to Boost Options out Wide

Lote_Tuqiri (1)

By Eva Rinaldi (Flickr: Lote Tuqiri) [CC-BY-SA-2.0

Leinster supporters will be eagerly anticipating their chance to see an Australian star don the club’s colours and join their ranks for the upcoming season.

Lote Tuqiri first rose to prominence playing rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos in a spell that saw him notch up 56 tries in 99 matches, before being lured to switch codes to play for the NSW Waratahs.

His performances there – which saw him rack up 148 points in 89 games and led to call-ups to the Wallabies squad to play at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups – then led to an offer to play in England with Richard Cockerill’s Leicester Tigers for their 2009/10 campaign.

Despite another foray back into rugby league with the Wests Tigers, he now appears ready to accept the challenge of switching codes, this time to play in Ireland – and a major factor in that decision will have been the opportunity to team up with Leinster head coach, Matt O’Connor.

O’Connor was Tuquri’s coach during their time together at Welford Road, and he has spoken to Betfair pundits of his pleasure at having the dangerous winger among his staff again:
“We are delighted to welcome a player of Lote's calibre and enthusiasm. A consummate professional, Lote has an enormous wealth of experience in the game and we believe he will play an important role in the squad over the coming weeks.”
Fijian-born Tuqiri, 33, will offer competition for places to the likes of Luke Fitzgerald, Darren Hudson and David Kearney, and his presence around the ground will help develop the feel-good factor.

Following their nail-biting 29-29 draw against the Ospreys, Leinster now have seven points from their opening two games and, after surprising the betfair betting by winning the Pro-12 last season, they will know the importance of getting their season off to a good start.


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019