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Thread: The Tuilagi Brothers

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    The Tuilagi Brothers

    It is probably highly unlikely any of the brothers would leave the developed comfort zone of Leicester however, it would be a great move for Melbourne to use this amazing clan to develop a strong link with the PI's, particularly Samoa, and havea strong family core to the franchise.
    Regardless, consider the members of arguably the most successful family in the code:

    Fereti "Freddie" Tuilagi (Retired)

    Date of birth June 9, 1971 (1971-06-09) (age 38)
    Place of birth Apia, Samoa
    Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
    Weight 102 kg (16 st 1 lb)

    Rugby league career

    Position Three-quarter

    1995 - 1997 Halifax RLFC
    1999 - 2000 St Helens RLFC

    Rugby union career

    Position Centre

    2000-2004 Leicester Tigers
    2004-2005 Cardiff Blues
    2005-2006 Castres

    National team: Samoa '91-'95, '02

    Henry Tuilagi

    Date of birth 12 August 1976 (1976-08-12) (age 33)
    Place of birth Fogapoa, Samoa
    Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
    Weight 126 kg (19 st 12 lb)

    Rugby union career

    Position
    Number 8

    2002 Parma
    2003-2007 Leicester Tigers
    2007-2009 USA Perpignan

    National team: Samoa & Pacific Islands

    Alesana "Alex" Tuilagi

    Date of birth February 24, 1981 (1981-02-24) (age 28)
    Place of birth Fogapoa, Samoa
    Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
    Weight 16 st 7 lbs (105 kg)

    Rugby union career

    Position
    Wing

    20022004 Parma
    20042009 Leicester Tigers

    National team: Samoa

    Anitelia "Andy" Tuilagi

    Date of birth June 5, 1986 (1986-06-05) (age 23)
    Place of birth Samoa
    Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
    Weight 96 kg (15 st 2 lb)

    Rugby union career

    Position
    Centre/Wing

    2005-2006 Leicester Tigers
    2006-2008 Leeds Carnegie
    2008-2009 Sale Sharks

    National team: Samoa

    Sanele Vavae Tuilagi

    Date of Birth 15/06/1988 (21)
    Place of birth Samoa
    Height 194cm / 6'4"
    Weight 101kg / 223lbs / 15st 13lbs

    Rugby union career

    Position
    Wing

    2007-2009 Leicester Tigers

    National Team: Samoa Under20

    Manu Samoa Tuilagi

    Date of birth 18 May 1991 (1991-05-18) (age 18)

    Rugby union career

    Position
    Wing/Centre

    2008-2009 Leicester Tigers

    To give a bit of a feel as to the character of the family, here is an article from 2006:

    Meet the Tuilagis - a brotherhood of Tigers

    Six young giants turn a leafy suburb in Leicester into a little piece of the South Pacific

    By Hugh Godwin, Sunday, 28 May 2006


    There is an unassuming Leicester suburb calledThorpe Astley which doubles as a little piece of the South Pacific. This is where the Tuilagi brothers reside, and when they get together for Sunday lunch, the local butcher wears a smile.


    There are seven brothers in all - six of them rugby players. Theirs is an amazing sporting story which has emerged from the humble village of Fatausi-Fogapoa, half a world away in the tiny Samoan archipelago, population 160,000. Fereti - the name is Anglicised as Freddie - is the eldest, at 34. After playing in the 1995 World Cup for Samoa he switched to rugby league with Halifax and brought his wife Polly and their young son Brian to England. Another son, Frederick, was born in Yorkshire before Freddie joined St Helens. "In 2000 I met Peter Wheeler and Dean Richards at Leicester and decided to give union another go," says Freddie. "I was happy in England."

    Freddie's father, Tuilagi Vavae, is a retired politician: a deputy speaker of the Samoan government. A high chief, too, on the Fatausi village council. His wife, Aliitasi, somehow managed to run the only shop in the village, selling food, while bringing up seven sons - seven very big sons. "We weren't wealthy, we weren't poor," says Freddie.

    Even so, as a kid in bare feet or borrowed boots he would throw a rugby ball around on any available patch of beach, scrubland or concrete. Often there was no ball. "We'd make do with a stick off a tree," he says. "Take a tackle the wrong way and you'd be stabbed in the belly." The kit these days is a bit smarter.

    Freddie was followed to Leicester and into the Tigers' first team by Henry, Alesana and Anitelea. These three are the most likely to feature at next year's World Cup, when Samoa - as in 2003 - will be in a pool with England and South Africa. The Tuilagis' priorities are family, God and rugby in that order, and records can take care of themselves. But the feats of, say, Gavin and Scott Hastings of Scotland, the Welsh Quinnells and the three Wallaces of Ireland pale by comparison.

    Next in line is Vavae, 17, who is in Leicester's academy. He and the 14-year-old Manu Samoa - christened with the islands' warrior name in honour of Freddie being part of the squad who made a seismic impact on the 1991 World Cup - are at Richards' old school in Leicestershire, John Cleveland College. They also play for Hinckley RFC.

    Then there is the third of the brothers, the 27-year-old Olotuli. For centuries in the Pacific Islands, some of the men have been brought up to think of themselves as women and live a woman's life. In Samoa they are known as fa'afafine. "Olotuli is fa'afafine, he doesn't play rugby," Freddie explains. "He wears a dress and make-up and if he walks around Leicester every one looks at him, thinking, 'Is this a man or a woman?' In Samoa it's normal, there is no prejudice." Olotuli is, says Freddie, the biggest of all the brothers - which means he is huge - and could have been another flanker like Henry, who was busy bouncing off Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley when he broke a leg against Wasps last season.

    The Tuilagis regard themselves as a family within the Leicester family, and the feeling is reciprocated at what used to be a parochial club. "Freddie brought a certain character with him which we liked," says Andy Key, the Tigers' director of development. "He was an instant hero and all the brothers have that ability to make the big hits."

    Alex, as Alesana is known, scored four tries on the wing for Samoa in a World Cup qualifier against Tonga, with Anitelea (Andy) at centre. Vavae and Manu are in the same mould of free-running but immensely powerful backs. Freddie has just wound up his playing career, with Castres, and through his company Global Bro Sports he represents his brothers and other Samoans all over the world.

    "Rugby is our national sport," he says. "Every evening after school you'd get out and play, on any 10 yards of ground you could find. It might have holes in it, or rocks and trees to get around. That's where you got your skills from. You either ran over someone or sidestepped them. No one taught us how to tackle."

    Like all the smaller unions, Samoa could do with more cash to make their mark. Alex made his own impression against England at Twickenham last November when he was sent off for a dangerous tackle and fighting with his fellow Tiger Lewis Moody. "Alex and Lewis got together afterwards and everything was fine," says Freddie, who has no regrets about leaving behind his old job, tasting the malts in a Samoan brewery.

    He says Alex likes the occasional beer, and it all got a bit boisterous after a Leicester match in France last year. But it was kept in-house, with Henry punching Alex into line. And Freddie uses the incident to make a salient point: "Henry gave him a hiding but it was about respect. Our culture is all about respecting your elders. Maybe that's why we like Leicester. They fight at training and people get kicked, but it's just the mentality."

    The Tuilagis believe in a higher authority. First stop in Thorpe Astley on a Sunday is mass at the Catholic Church of the Blessed Sacrament. Then it's a massive meal of fish, crab, a whole shoulder of lamb and taro (a potato the local Caribbean grocer is importing thanks to the roaring Tuilagi trade). The nearby M1 lends an ever-present hum - big and fast, appropriately enough. Olotuli is back home, but the remaining brothers are joined by Freddie, Polly and their boys, with Henry, his wife, Mele, and their sons Authur, Henry Junior and Freddie, and daughter Alesandra. The language is Samoan and traditional music plays in the background, although Alex likes a bit of "English" hip-hop: Eminem and 50 Cent.

    "The hardest thing for us here is the weather, of course," says Freddie, "and missing home when you first come over, but myself and the boys just want to make the most of it. We want to make friends and to do our job properly. That's what is important in life."

    FREDDIE'S CLAN

    FERETI (FREDDIE) AGE 34: Centre/wing, ex-Halifax and St Helens RL, joined Leicester in 2000 and has since played for Cardiff Blues and Castres. Just retired. Sixteen union Tests for Samoa 1994-2002.

    HENRY, 29: Back row, joined Leicester 2003. Four Tests for Samoa in 2002.

    OLOTULI 27: Does not play.

    ALESANA TIAFAU (ALEX), 25: Wing, 15 tries in 43 Leicester first-team appearances. Ten Tests for Samoa since 2002.

    ANITELEA (ANDY), 19: Centre. Six Tests for Samoa in 2005, recently on loan to Natal Sharks. One Premiership appearance for Leicester.

    VAVAE, 17: Wing, plays for Leicester's Development XV and Hinckley RFC Colts. At John Cleveland College.

    MANU SAMOA, 15: Wing, played at Twickenham for John Cleveland College in recent Schools U-15 Cup final, scored three tries in semi-final.

    Olotuli may prefer to start a career with the Tahs though...

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    Last edited by Burgs; 19-11-09 at 21:50.
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  2. #2
    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    Henry is an absolute beast of a man. Playing in France at the moment.

    The Toulon fullback had an up close and personal encounter with him in the game between Toulon and Perpignan.

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