In the mid-1990s, a group of Tongans decided to play their professional rugby in Wales, with a significant number of them getting married in the country.
The likes of Kuli Faletau, Fe’ao Vunipola and Katilimoni Tuipulotu have made significant contributions to rugby in this country on the playing field, but they also nurture another generation of players who can continue to play rugby. international education.
Taulupe Faletau’s exploits need no introduction, while Billy and Mako Vunipola have gone on to have hugely successful international careers in England’s white shirt.
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Now is the time for the next generation of stars, with Carwyn Tuipulotu already making an impact at Scarlets and seen by many as Wales’ future trump card.
One who has yet to become a household name, but is expected to reach the top, is Kepueli Tuipulotu, the British U18 prostitute from Pontypool.
He is the son of former Dragons and Worcester center Sione Tuipulotu, while his sister, Sisilia, has made waves for Wales Women.
The 17-year-old is currently in sixth grade at the prestigious Harrow School, and is a member of the Irish academy in London, which has produced some of the best players in England and Ireland.
Tuipulotu took the U18’s Six Nations by storm with an extraordinary, power-packed effort in England’s 56-14 win over Ireland U20 last weekend.
The pickpocket in the storm burst through two tackles before plunging from 50 yards leaving a trail of would-be interceptors behind him. The effort has made him something of an internet sensation.
Despite representing England on age level, he is not tied to the Red Rose and is still eligible to represent the country where he was born.
WalesOnline understands that Welsh Rugby Union’s Exiles program is monitoring his progress, as they are other Welsh eligible players performing across the Bridge or abroad.
They are doing their best to get him to commit his future to Wales after finishing his studies but will face competition from the Rugby League.
Welsh rugby cannot compete with the educational incentives some young Welsh receive from some schools in England.
But what they can do is partner with them, fostering a strong relationship with the player in question in the hope that he pledges allegiance to Wales at a higher level.
Wales will very much hope Tuipulotu takes his hat off to the Welsh ring in the future.