Weepu in 2015
|Full name||Piri Awahou Tihou Weepu|
|Date of birth||7 September 1983|
|Place of birth||Lower Hutt, New Zealand|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||96 kg (212 lb; 15 st 2 lb)|
|School||Te Aute College|
|Notable relative(s)||Billy Weepu (brother)|
|Rugby union career|
|New Zealand No.||1049|
Piri Awahou Tihou Weepu (born 7 September 1983) is a New Zealand rugby union player. Weepu plays for Narbonne in the Pro D2. Generally Weepu plays as a half-back but has also been known to play in the fly-half position. He has represented the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks. He first won national honours against Wales in 2004. In 2005 was called back into the All Blacks squad for the first Tri Nations test against South Africa, having missed selection for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour.
Of Māori and Niuean descent, Weepu hails from Wainuiomata. He played his senior rugby with Hutt Old Boys Marist, under the tutelage of his mentor Derek Bruce, but returned to his roots and signed with Wainuiomata RFC where, along with fellow local product Earl Va'a, he helped the club win promotion to the Premier Division in 2006 and turned the club into genuine title contenders. He attended Te Aute College where he was Head Boy in 2001.
Rugby career in New Zealand
During the 2006 Super 14 Final, Weepu was knocked unconscious during an attempted tackle. However, due to the bizarrely thick fog during the match, the team doctors were unable to see that he had been unconscious. Weepu continued playing and went on to miss a tackle on Casey Laulala, conceding the match-winning try. Later Weepu admitted that he could not remember the game at all.
During the 2011 Rugby World Cup Weepu played out of position in the last pool match against Canada, coming off the bench during the second half to play fullback as a replacement for Mils Muliaina. There was great pressure on the All Blacks to win the Cup, not having won it since 1987. This time round it looked to be New Zealand's year, but the unthinkable happened: All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter was struck with a season ending groin injury. This caused much media attention, and betting odds in favor of the All Blacks began to decrease. In the All Blacks vs Argentina quarter-final match, Weepu took on Carter's goal kicking duties. Landing seven penalties, with only a missed conversion, Weepu was named Man of the Match, helping guide New Zealand to victory, as well as earning him the nicknames "Mr Fixit" and "saviour".
Weepu was left out of the All Blacks squad for the June tests in 2013, being told he needed to work on his speed and defensive ability. He was named in the squad for the late Autumn tour of Argentina, but received little playing time.
Leading of the Haka
Weepu was an integral part of the All Blacks when it came to performing the haka before each game. Of the 71 tests he played in he was the haka leader in 51 of them (12 November 2005 – 22 June 2013); this is the most for any player since the introduction of Kapa o Pango in 2005. 26 times he led the Ka Mate version of the haka as well as 25 times the newer Kapa o Pango haka.
Rugby career in England
On 23 February 2015, it was announced Weepu would be joining Top 14 side Oyonnax on a two-year deal from the 2015-16 season. On 15 January 2016 Oyonnax have announced the termination of Weepu's contract with immediate effect, without giving any reason.
In 2007 the Gold Coast Titans approached Weepu to play rugby league. Titans CEO Michael Searle said "He's a good player with plenty of experience at the top level in rugby union, and it would be good to get him back to rugby league if we can."
- Walter, Brad; Mascord, Steve; Prichard, Greg (12 August 2005). "Former Kiwi prop Todd named in drug-ring investigation". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- Governor-General of New Zealand (29 July 2008). "Lunch for New Premier of Niue" (Press release). New Zealand Government. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- Dow, Jonathan (10 September 2005). "Te Aute's glories now in print". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Napier, Liam (10 July 2014). "Piri Weepu to leave Blues for London Welsh". Dominion Post. Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Weepu to join London Welsh". Rugby Week. Sports Digital Media. July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Wasps: Piri Weepu and Martyn Thomas join Premiership club". BBC Sport. 27 February 2015.
- "Weepu swaps London Welsh for Oyonnax". ESPN Scrum. 23 February 2015.
- Walter, Brad (31 July 2007). "BK lures Perry to Sea Eagles". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
|Tom French Memorial
Māori rugby union player of the year