18 August 1974 |
|Source: Rugby League Project|
Tevita Vaikona (born Sunday 18 August 1974 in Tonga) is a professional rugby footballer, a powerful winger who enjoyed massive success in rugby league and picked up many honours before switching codes to rugby union where he was also hugely successful.
Vaikona started playing rugby league when he was studying in Christchurch, New Zealand at Lincoln University. He made the Junior Kiwis in 1994 and in 1994 Vaikona played for the Canterbury Country Cardinals in the Lion Red Cup and represented both Canterbury, New Zealand Universities and the New Zealand Residents.
Vaikona moved to Hull in 1994 and played alongside fellow Cantabrian Shane Endacott. Vaikona was selected for the Tonga national rugby league team in the 1995 World Cup. In the Rugby League First Division he played for Hull, and in the Super League he played for Bradford Bulls where his tries and powerful play saw him voted the best League winger in the World. Vaikona played for Bradford Bulls on the wing in the 1999 Super League Grand Final which was lost to St Helens RLFC.
Vaikona also played for Tonga in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and was his country's top try-scorer for the tournament. Vaikona played for the Bradford Bulls on the wing in their 2001 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan Warriors. As Super League VI champions, the Bulls played against 2001 NRL Premiers, the Newcastle Knights in the 2002 World Club Challenge. Vaikona played on the wing in Bradford's victory. He was a Junior Kiwi and was called up for the New Zealand Kiwis in 2002 but did not play a match. Vaikona played for the Bradford Bulls on the wing in their 2002 Super League Grand Final loss against St Helens RFC. Vaikona played for the Bradford Bulls on the wing in their 2003 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan Warriors. Having won Super League VIII, Bradford played against 2003 NRL Premiers, the Penrith Panthers in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Vaikona played on the wing in the Bulls' 22-4 victory.
Vaikona joined North London-based Saracens F.C. from Bradford Bulls in 2004 and went on to score a try on his debut a few months later. In his first season in rugby union, he was the top off-loader in the premiership during the 2004/5 season. He has also represented Tonga on numerous occasions. He was not selected for the squad for the 2007 World Cup. He is a renowned rugby sevens athlete, having represented Tonga in the Commonwealth games and both the Bradford Bulls and the Saracens in the Twickenham sevens.
He was also named Player of the Season during his first year at the Saracens. Injury stalled his 2005/06 campaign, but he soon came back to where he left off although 2006-07 was a less successful season in terms of points scored. He is known for his offloading ability, which has led to numerous tries for his club.
In April 2007, Saracens announced that Tevita was leaving the club for pastures new and he signed a two-year contract with a French outfit, Racing Metro, Paris where he played during the 2007/08 season.
In February 2008 Tevita signed for Hull Rugby Union Football Club on a two year contract and made a try scoring debut against Birkenhead Park on 1 March 2008.
Tevita worked as the Director of Rugby at Hull Rugby Union Football Club and later as the Director of Sport at Bishop Burton College in the East Riding.
He now resides near Oxford, where he works as the Head of Sporting Relations at Magdalen College School and is Director Of Rugby (2012 season onwards) of the current Oxford Harlequins & Oxford Rugby RFC and Oxford Cavaliers Rugby League Club.
It was announced by the BBC in September 2012 that Tevita is a board member of the new Championship level Super League Franchise which will be based in Oxford.
Off the field, Tevita gained Accountancy qualifications whilst playing in Hull and Bradford. He is a committed Christian, married and has 3 children.