David Niu

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David Niu
Personal information
Full name David Niumataiwalu[1]
Born (1966-01-03) 3 January 1966 (age 48)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 192 lb (87 kg)
Playing information
Rugby league
Position Scrum-half/Halfback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1990–91 St. George 19 2 1 0 10
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1994-98–2000-06 United States 88 18 58 2 190
Rugby union
Position Standoff
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1999 United States 8 1 0 1 8
As of March 7, 2009
Source: RLP

David Niumataiwalu, better known as David Niu (born January 3, 1966), is an Australian-American rugby league and rugby union administrator, coach, and former player. Regarded as one of the founders of rugby league in the United States, he established the American National Rugby League (AMNRL), the country's oldest rugby league competition and the national governing body for the sport. He is currently president of AFL Global, an organization that hopes to spread arena football around the world.

Niu played for the St. George Rugby Union Club from 1984 to 1989 before shifting to the rugby league code. His professional league career included two seasons with the St. George Dragons in Australia's New South Wales Rugby League (now the National Rugby League) from 1990 to 1991; his position was Scrum-half/Halfback. In 1993 he relocated to the United States where he was involved in promoting both codes. He was one of the founders of the United States national rugby league team, and played on the USA Eagles national rugby union team, appearing in the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 1997 he founded the competition that became the modern AMNRL, serving as its president until 2013.

Early life and rugby career[edit]

Niumataiwalu was born and raised in Sydney, and attended James Cook Boys Technology High School in nearby Kogorah.[2] He is of Fijian descent.[3]

Niu played rugby union for St. George Rugby Union Club from 1984 to 1989, playing a total of 250 first division games.[1] He also represented Sydney, the New South Wales Waratahs and was a member of the Australian Barbarians, and captained the Australian College and University teams from 1984 to 1988. In 1986 he was one of three winners of the Ken Catchpole Medal.[4] In 1987 he earned a spot on the Australian national rugby union team training squad for the 1987 Rugby World Cup.[1][5]

Niu shifted to professional rugby league in 1989. In 1990 he was signed by the St. George Dragons of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership (now the National Rugby League), Australia's highest rugby league competition, as a Scrum-half/Halfback. He played for St. George for two seasons, appearing in a total of nineteen games and scoring two tries and one field goal.[6] As a former Dragons player, Niu has been outspoken about the club moving away from Kogarah's WIN Jubilee Oval.[7] He later played for the Villeneuve Leopards in France,[8] and had spells with the Bramley Buffaloes[citation needed] and Bradford Bulls[citation needed] in the United Kingdom before retiring.

American career[edit]

In 1991, Niu met his future wife Donna Camac while on a St. George team retreat in Hawaii. He gained a release from the final years of his contract with the Dragons and relocated to her hometown of Philadelphia, where he took a job as a teacher at the Glen Mills Schools, a reform school for court-referred youth with an aptitude for sports.[9] He worked to introduce rugby league at the school, drawing the attention of American rugby league enthusiast Mike Mayer. Niu and Mayer organized a U.S. national rugby league team for a trip to the 1992 Rugby League World Sevens in Sydney. After Mayer departed Niu continued developing the national team, bringing them to international competitions such as the 1995 Emerging Nations Tournament and a short tour of Australia in 1997.[9][10]

During this time, Niu also played rugby union in the U.S. He was named to the United States national rugby union team, making eleven international appearances, including at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 2000 he became head coach of Philadelphia Whitemarsh RFC in the Rugby Super League, the highest level of rugby union in the United States.[1]

In 1997 Niu was one of the founders of Super League America, the first major attempt to organize a domestic rugby league competition in the United States, and served as the new league's executive director.[2][11] The organization managed the national team and launched a six-club domestic competition. On top of serving as head of Super League America, Niu was also player-coach for the Glen Mills Bulls (now the Aston Bulls), the most dominant team in the league. In 2000 Super League America reorganized as the United States Rugby League, and the following year it became the American National Rugby League, its current incarnation.[9][12]

In 2009 Niu was involved in establishing a new American professional rugby league competition, the National Rugby League USA (NRLUS). Niu was reported to be commissioner of the league, which had a launch date of 2010,[13] however as of 2010 the NRLUS has not gotten off the ground.[14] Niu cited the Late-2000s recession as a factor in the league's lack of progress.[14] Niu was also heavily involved in planning the Atlantic Cup tournament, beginning in 2009, and in the United States being awarded the qualifying tournament for the final berth in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.[15]

AFL Global[edit]

The AFL Global logo

In February 2013, Niu resigned from the AMNRL to take a position as president of AFL Global. The organization is an independent business venture that hopes to work with the Arena Football League to expand arena football to China and elsewhere around the world.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Former USA/Australia Flyhalf to Coach Philadelphia". rugby.com.au. August 23, 2001. Retrieved June 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "R2K interviews David Niu" R2K, 19 May 2002
  3. ^ Eric Deggans (February 2, 2010). "Battle of Bati date set". Fiji Sun. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Fardy and Harvey share 2008 Ken Catchpole Medal". heavensgame.com. Retrieved 21 June 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ http://www.americantowns.com/nj/seaislecity/news/american-national-rugby-league-war-at-the-shore-amazed-spectators-on-july-26-115576
  6. ^ http://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/players/David_Niu.html
  7. ^ David Niu: Dragons need to consider Kogarah fans Return to Kogarah Press Release
  8. ^ Hadfield, Dave (December 8, 1992). "Rugby League: Wigan have work cut out". The Independent (London). 
  9. ^ a b c Hannan, Tony (April 2002). "Niu York, Niu York!". Rugby League World. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  10. ^ World Cup 1995 details The Vault
  11. ^ "Room for Rugby". Jacksonville Business Journal. December 13, 1999. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  12. ^ David Hundt (May 4, 2001). "Who's in control?". 13world.com. rivals.net. Archived from the original on November 19, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  13. ^ [1]"The Herald Sun
  14. ^ a b Staff (February 7, 2010). "Big USA money chasing Stacey Jones". The Dominion Post. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ Steve Mascord (November 16, 2010). "League World Cup to break new territory". sportsnewsfirst.com.au. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ About AFL Global page

External links[edit]