Joe Tuineau

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Joe Tuineau
Joseph Tuineau 2011.jpg
Full name Joseph Mark Laifone Tuineau
Date of birth (1981-08-18) 18 August 1981 (age 36)
Place of birth Suva, Fiji
Height 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Weight 120 kg (18 st 13 lb; 265 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Correct as of 24 August 2015
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008–2011 Southland 34 (20)
Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
2010–11 Highlanders 6 (0)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011– Tonga Tonga 28 (5)
Correct as of 26 November 2016

Joseph Mark Laifone Tuineau (born 18 August 1981[1] in Suva, Fiji) is a rugby union footballer and a former American football player. He plays as a lock for Southland in the ITM Cup and for the Highlanders in the Super Rugby competition. Although he was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, he represents Tonga internationally. His partner is Southern Steel and Silver Ferns goal shoot Daneka Wipiiti.

Rugby career[edit]

Provincial Rugby[edit]

Tuineau was a rugby and track star at King's College in Auckland but dropped the sport for several years to pursue a career in American football. He returned to New Zealand in mid-2008, and two days after arriving he represented Woodlands in the Galbraith Shield final. He trained heavily to lose excess weight and gain fitness, and played most of the 2008 season with the Southland Development team before getting into late season games off the bench in the Air New Zealand Cup for Southland.

In 2009 he became a regular starter with the Stags in the Air New Zealand Cup, appearing in all but one of the team's 14 games. He was a key figure in Southland's Ranfurly Shield win against Canterbury, ending the fifty-year drought for the province. He finished the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup with a team high four tries and was selected for the 2010 Highlanders squad.

He continued as a starter for Southland during their extended defence of the Ranfurly Shield in the 2010 ITM Cup. He appeared in the first 5 matches of the 2011 ITM Cup, helping the province to another Ranfurly Shield triumph, before leaving to join the Tongan national side in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Super Rugby[edit]

Tuineau's strong showings with Southland earned him a contract with the Highlanders for the 2010 Super 14 season. He didn't make his debut until the team's 6th match of the season, but an injury to starting lock Tom Donnelly saw an increase in playing time, and he appeared as a substitute in 7 of the final 8 games of the year.

Although he was again included in the Highlanders squad for the 2011 Super Rugby season, he found himself on the fringes of the squad and didn't feature in any matches over the course of the season.

International Play[edit]

In the leadup to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Tuineau declared his intention to represent Tonga, and made his debut against Fiji on 2 July 2011.

Football career[edit]

Tuineau first played football in New Zealand for South Auckland Raiders and then attended Southeast Missouri State University where he played tight end. When Tuineau played football he weighed 131 kg (20 st 9 lb; 289 lb). He played a four seasons for the Redhawks recording 61 catches for 772 yards, averaging 12.7 yards per catch with one touchdown.[2] After going undrafted in the 2008 National Football League Draft Tuineau trained with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and the New York Giants but failed to receive a National Football League contract. After weighing up his options in 2008 he returned to New Zealand to pursue a rugby union career and signed a two-year deal Southland.[3]

Year Team G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2004 Southeast Missouri State University 8 0 9 70 7.8 18 0
2005 Southeast Missouri State University 11 10 25 305 12.2 24 0
2006 Southeast Missouri State University 10 4 6 63 10.5 19 0
2007 Southeast Missouri State University 11 11 21 334 15.9 35 1
CAREER 40 25 61 772 12.7 35 1


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