Alando Soakai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alando Soakai
Birth name Alando Soakai
Date of birth (1983-05-11) 11 May 1983 (age 35)
Place of birth Auckland, New Zealand
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 103 kg (16 st 3 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011-2016 Kubota Spears ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2004
2005–2010
Southland
Otago
7
61
(0)
(40)
Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
2007–2011 Highlanders 58 (15)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)

Alando Soakai (born 11 May 1983 in West Auckland) is a former professional rugby union player from New Zealand best known for his time with the Highlanders in Super Rugby and Otago in the ITM Cup, and as captain of Otago in their 2009 and 2010 campaigns. He currently serves on the coaching staff of the Kubota Spears in the Japanese Top League, the club where he finished his playing career.

Playing career[edit]

Provincial Rugby[edit]

Of Tongan descent, Soakai was educated at Auckland Grammar School, where he played alongside current professional rugby players Ben Atiga, Benson Stanley, and Isa Nacewa. He shifted south to Dunedin in 2002 to attend the University of Otago, eventually signing to play provincial rugby for Otago.

After spending the 2004 season on loan with Southland, Soakai made his debut for Otago in 2005 and by the 2006 Air New Zealand Cup was a regular starter for the squad. In ensuing seasons, he developed into one of Otago's most reliable players, and was selected team captain for the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup.

In the 2010 ITM Cup, Soakai made his 50th appearance for Otago and set a personal best with 3 tries over the course of the season, but endured a difficult season as captain as the team had a disastrous year to finish dead last in the competition.

He played over fifty games in club rugby for Kaikorai Demons in the local Dunedin competition.

Super Rugby[edit]

Soakai was selected to the Highlanders squad for the 2007 Super 14 season, and appeared in all but one game for the team including 7 starts. After a mass exodus from the club following the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Soakai solidified his spot as the team's starting openside flanker in 2008.

Soakai continued to be a fixture for the Highlanders through the 2009 and 2010 Super 14 seasons, starting 12 out of the 13 matches in both years.

Following the 2011 season, Soakai left New Zealand to sign in Japan with the Kubota Spears.

Japan[edit]

Soakai closed out his career with the Tokyo-based Kubota Spears club, retiring in 2016. Following his retirement, he joined the coaching staff of the club.

International Play[edit]

Soakai is an accomplished rugby sevens New Zealand Sevens player, and has represented New Zealand and won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Melbourne in 2006 and an IRB World Sevens Series title in 2007.

Following a strong 2009 Super Rugby season, Soakai was selected to the Junior All Blacks for the 2009 IRB Pacific Nations Cup. He appeared in all 4 games in the tournament, including a start against Japan, as the squad swept their way to victory.

Another solid Super Rugby season in 2010, Soakai earn the opportunity to captain the New Zealand Barbarians against the New Zealand Maori, marking 100 years of Maori Rugby. Both teams produced numerous experienced Super Rugby players and current and future All Blacks in the likes of John Afoa and Rene Ranger.

Soakai is one of a few openside flankers in New Zealand (along with Karl Lowe and Scott Waldrom) whose chances of reaching full All Black status were severely hindered by the misfortune of playing the same position as world rugby's dominant openside flanker, Richie McCaw. Having played for the Junior All Blacks and the New Zealand Sevens team, he was also ineligible to take advantage of his ancestry to play for Tonga.

References[edit]