|Full name||A'au James Leuluai|
A'au James Leuluai is a New Zealand former international rugby league player. His favoured position was centre. He is the father of New Zealand Warriors and New Zealand international Thomas Leuluai, and the uncle of Leeds Rhinos prop Kylie Leuluai.
A Mt Wellington junior, in his career Leuluai played for the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Wakefield Trinity (Heritage №1007), Hull, Leigh, Ryedale-York and Doncaster. Leuluai also represented the New Zealand Kiwis and New Zealand Māori. Between 1979 and 1986 he played in 29 test matches for his country.
His Hull FC début, alongside fellow débutant Dane O'Hara and Gary Kemble (who had already appeared) came on 27 September 1981 against Castleford. Achievements over the next year included helping Hull to win the John Player Trophy, also being Premiership runners-up, and of course to lift the 1982 Challenge Cup, the first time the Challenge Cup had been back at the Boulevard since 1914
A'au James Leuluai was an unused Interchange/Substitute, i.e. number 14, in Hull's 14-14 draw with Widnes in the 1982 Challenge Cup Final during the 1981–82 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 1 May 1982, in front of a crowd of 92,147, and played Centre, i.e. number 3, (Terry Day having played Centre in the first match]]) in the 18-9 victory over Widnes in the 1982 Challenge Cup Final replay during the 1981–82 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Wednesday 19 May 1982, in front of a crowd of 41,171,
Nicknamed "Lullaby", as he so often fell asleep off the field he was anything but sleepy on it, scoring many remarkable tries including what the Yorkshire Post described as "one of the greatest solo tries of all time" in the 1983 Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Castleford, passing four Castleford players and racing around half of the length of the field without a hand ever touching him until he had crossed the line.
Leuluai played Centre, i.e. number 4, and scored 2-tries in Hull's 24-28 defeat by Wigan in the 1985 Challenge Cup Final during the 1984–85 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 4 May 1985, in front of a crowd of 99,801, in what is regarded as the most marvellous cup final in living memory, which Hull narrowly lost after fighting back from 12-28 down at half-time.
Leuluai played Centre, i.e. number 4, in Hull's 18-7 victory over Bradford Northern in the 1982 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1982–83 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 2 October 1982, played Centre, i.e. number 4, in the 13-2 victory over Castleford in the 1983 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1983–84 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 15 October 1983, and played Right-Wing, i.e. number 2, in the 29-12 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the 1984 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1984–85 season at Boothferry Park, Kingston upon Hull on Saturday 27 October 1984.
Leuluai played Centre, i.e. number 4, in Hull's 12-4 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the 1981–82 John Player Trophy Final during the 1981–82 season at Headingley Rugby Stadium, Leeds on Saturday 23 January 1982, played Centre, i.e. number 4, in the 12-0 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the 1984–85 John Player Special Trophy Final during the 1984–85 season at Boothferry Park, Kingston upon Hull on Saturday 26 January 1985.
In 1986/7, after failing to agree a new contract with Hull he was transfer listed at £50,000. "Jimmy" subsequently played 6 games on loan to Leigh before returning to the Boulevard for 3 more games and a further 27 in 1987 / 88. In October 1988 he then signed for Wakefield Trinity, making his début in the 12-34 defeat to Wigan at Central Park, Wigan, playing 51 times over 2 seasons and scoring 12 tries. In 1990/91 he moved to Ryedale-York, playing 7 matches and scoring 2 tries before ending his UK career at Doncaster the same year with 13 games and 1 try. His last match on UK soil was a Doncaster home game to Leigh on 14 April 1991, played in front of just 1,557, a rather sad end to a great Rugby League career
Such was their subsequent commitment to the British game that Leuluai and his Hull counterparts Gary Kemble & Dane O'Hara (Fred Ah Kuoi had served 4 years with the Club at this point and so would not be eligible until the following year) saw the Government & Rugby Football League change rules and by laws regarding overseas players in 1986 to take those who had shown such commitment outside of the overseas player quotas.
After he had finished his English career, Leuluai returned to New Zealand and started playing for Wellington. He helped them defeat Auckland for the first time in 75 years. It was during this time in Wellington that Leuluai began his coaching career.
After a career of coaching New Zealand representative sides, Leuluai applied for the head coaching job of the New Zealand Kiwis in 2005 and was heavily favoured to be appointed until he withdrew due to personal reasons. Brian McClennan was appointed coach instead.
- LEULUAI, A'au James 1979 - 86 - Kiwi #547 nzleague.co.nz
- "A complete history of Hull FC's Challenge Cup finals". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "1984–1985 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
- "100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super era". independent.co.uk. 20 August 1995. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- Top tries: James Leuluai BBC Sport, 27 February 2004
- source Hull FC 100 Greats by Raymond Fletcher,1992 ISBN 978-0752424293.
- Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.129
- Bulls brace for potent tornado The Press, 5 May 2001
- 2002 Junior Kiwis NZRL.co.nz
- Brown, Michael (29 July 2007). "League: Leuluai a last-minute candidate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Superleague, Volume 5, Issue 4, Edition 26 2010. p.22.