Taulupe Faletau

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Taulupe Faletau
Toby Faletau. Wales Grand Slam Celebration, Senedd 19 March 2012.jpg
Faletau in 2012
Full name Tangaki Taulupe Faletau
Date of birth (1990-11-12) 12 November 1990 (age 24)
Place of birth Tofua, Tonga
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 110 kg (240 lb; 17 st 5 lb)
School Trevethin Community School
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Number 8, Flanker
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Cross Keys
Newport RFC
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2009– Newport Gwent Dragons 97 (50)
correct as of 16 May 2015.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
Wales U20
British and Irish Lions
correct as of 21 March 2015.

Tangaki Taulupe "Toby" Faletau (born 12 November 1990) is a Welsh international rugby union player. The back row forward played for Cross Keys RFC and Newport RFC before joining the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Early life[edit]

Faletau was born in Tofoa, Tonga, to Tongan international Kuli Faletau, who represented Tonga at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Kuli moved to Wales in 1998 to join Ebbw Vale, taking a seven-year-old Taulupe with him.[1] He attended Trevethin Community School until 2007, then attended Filton College (now part of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College) as part of the college's successful rugby academy and received player of the year during his time at the college.

As a young boy he found school friends struggled to pronounce his Tongan name, and so picked up the nickname Toby. In recent years he has requested that his rugby squad name be recorded more accurately as Taulupe, but does not mind being called Toby.[2]

Early career[edit]

Faletau spent his early years in Wales playing for Ebbw Vale RFC and New Panteg RFC juniors, until youth level where he moved to Filton College, Bristol, to experience the English game. Prior to his move across the border, he had suffered several setbacks from both the Gwent District organisation and the Newport Gwent Dragons Regional.

Faletau made his debut for the Newport Gwent Dragons senior team 1 November 2009 versus Edinburgh.

On 22 December 2009 he was named in the Wales Under 20 Squad for the 2010 Under-20 Six Nations tournament.[3] In May 2010 he was selected in the Wales Under 20 Squad for the Junior World Cup in Argentina in June 2010.[4]

Club Career[edit]

Faletau played a significant role in Newport Gwent Dragons run to the semi-finals of the 2014–15 European Rugby Challenge Cup, playing in 7 of their 8 games during the competition until they were eventually knocked out by Edinburgh.[5]


He was first called up to the Wales senior squad on 1 November 2010 following the withdrawal of Ryan Jones and Rob McCusker. In January 2011 he was included in the Wales squad for the 2011 Six Nations Championship.[6] He made his full international debut for Wales versus the Barbarians on 4 June 2011.

In August 2011 he was named in the Wales squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.[7] On 11 September 2011 he made his World Cup debut for Wales against South Africa, scoring his first international try in the second half, adding another in the game against Namibia. He finished the tournament as the top tackler and ball carrier, the first time a single player has ever topped both tables. He was the only player to start all seven of Wales' games.

He then appeared in all five matches of Wales' Grand Slam-winning 2012 Six Nations Championship campaign, excelling throughout the championship and making many pundits team of the tournament.

In May 2012, Faletau was announced in the Wales squad for the three test series against Australia, but he had to withdraw from the squad after suffering a broken hand in the first test in Brisbane.[8]

Faletau also played all five games in Wales 2013 Six Nations Championship victory including the 30–3 win over England in the final match.[9]

In April 2013 Faletau was named in the squad for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.[10] After failing to feature in the first two tests, Faletau was named at number 8 in the final test ahead of Jamie Heaslip. The Welshman was impressive, as the Lions beat Australia 41–16 securing their first test series win since 1997. During the same summer it was announced that Faletau had signed a new three-year deal to remain at the Dragons region until 2016.

Faletau continued to represent Wales in the November 2013 Autumn Series,[11] scoring his third test try against Argentina in a man of the match performance.[12]

On 20 January 2014, Faletau was included in the 32-man Wales squad for the 2014 Six Nations Championship.[13] He started all 5 games and scored a try in a 51-3 thrashing of Scotland on 15 March, as Wales finished the campaign in 3rd.[14]

On 30 May 2014, Faletau was named in the 32-man squad for the mid-year test series against South Africa[15] after playing in a "Possibles vs Probables" match at the Liberty Stadium, in which he played on the Probables team which won 55-7.[16] He started both tests on the tour including the narrow 31-30 second test defeat, in which Wales lost after conceding a last minute penalty try.[17]

On 21 October 2014, Faletau was included in the Wales squad for the 2014 Autumn Series,[18] starting all 4 games including an historic victory over South Africa in the final test on 29 November.[19]

Faletau played every minute of Wales' 2015 Six Nations campaign, which included the Round 4 23-16 victory against Ireland in which Wales made a massive 250 tackles to deny the Irish a grand slam,[20] and the final round 61-20 thrashing of Italy which left Ireland needing to win their game against Scotland by 17 points or more to clinch the championship, which they did.[21]

Before the game against Italy in the 2015 Six Nations campaign, an email from the Welsh Rugby Union indicated that Faletau wanted to be known by his birth name of Taulupe Faletau.[22]


  1. ^ Shuttleworth, Peter (1 February 2012). "Six Nations: Family fortune for Faletau favours Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "From Tonga to Pontypool, Wales No 8 'Toby' Faletau has made a name for himself". Daily Mail. 28 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Faletau is honoured by Wales call-up". BBC Sport. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dragons' Dan Watchurst to lead Wales U20s in Argentina". BBC Sport. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Edinburgh 45–16 Dragons". BBC Sport. 17 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Martyn Williams omitted from Wales Six Nations squad". BBC Sport. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Wales 2011 Rugby World Cup squad". BBC Sport. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Australia v Wales: Toby Faletau ruled out, Gareth Delve called up". BBC Sport. 10 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Six Nations 2013: Wales 30-3 England". BBC Sport. 16 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "2013 Lions Squad". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Warren Gatland names three uncapped players for Wales". BBC Sport. 22 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Wales beat Argentina 40-6 in Cardiff in autumn international". BBC Sport. 16 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Gatland unveils Six Nations squad". WRU. 14 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Six Nations 2014: Wales thrash Scotland as Stuart Hogg sent off". BBC Sport. 15 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Matthew Rees makes Wales tour after cancer". BBC Sport. 30 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Wales trial:Probables 55-7 Possibles". BBC Sport. 30 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Wales beaten 31-30 by South Africa after late penalty try". BBC Sport. 21 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Wales: No Adam Jones and James Hook in autumn squad". BBC Sport. 21 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Wales 12-6 South Africa". BBC Sport. 29 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Six Nations 2015: 'Exhausted' Sam Warburton praises Wales defence". BBC Sport. 15 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Six Nations 2015: Italy 20-61 Wales". BBC Sport. 21 March 2015. 
  22. ^ [1]

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