|Full name||Thomas James Leuluai|
22 June 1985 |
Auckland, New Zealand
|Height||176 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||86 kg (13 st 8 lb)|
|Position||Halfback, Hooker, Five-eighth|
|2003–04||New Zealand Warriors||21||2||0||0||8|
|2013–16||New Zealand Warriors||58||9||0||0||36|
|As of 4 October 2009|
Thomas James Leuluai (born 22 June 1985) is a professional rugby league footballer of Samoan and Māori descent who currently plays for the Wigan Warriors in the Super League. A New Zealand national representative utility back, he has also played in Super League for English clubs, London Broncos and Wigan Warriors, and NRL clubs with the New Zealand warriors. Leuluai was a member of the 2008 World Cup-winning New Zealand team.
Leuluai's father is former Maori representative/New Zealand international James Leuluai, who scored two tries for Hull in the 1985 Challenge Cup final 6 weeks before Thomas was born. Thomas was educated at Mount Albert Grammar School where he attended school with fellow rugby league players Sonny Bill Williams, Steve Matai and Tevita Latu. Leuluai's brother Macgraff Leuluai currently plays for Widnes Vikings, his uncle Phillip Leuluai played for Salford City Reds and his cousin Kylie Leuluai played for the Leeds Rhinos.
New Zealand Warriors
Leuluai started his professional career at National Rugby League side New Zealand Warriors in 2003. He also played for the Junior Kiwis. At the time of his debut he was the youngest player to play for the club, coincidentally in the same game Mark Robinson became the oldest player to make his debut for the club. With competition from New Zealand internationals Stacey Jones and Lance Hohaia he had limited first team experience at New Zealand Warriors and consequently he spent most of the 2003 season in the Bartercard Cup playing for his youth club Otahuhu-Ellerslie, playing 10 games and scoring 5 tries. Leuluai became the second youngest player ever to represent the Kiwis when he made his debut that year. At the end of 2004, he left the Warriors after playing 21 first grade games and scoring two tries.
In 2004, Leuluai signed a contract with Super League side London Broncos as a replacement for Dennis Moran who had left the Broncos to join the Wigan Warriors. He spent two years at the club playing 38 games and scoring 19 tries. Both seasons were affected by injury. In 2005, his season was cut short by a broken ankle while his 2006 campaign was disrupted by a hamstring injury sustained while playing for New Zealand. His contract was not extended and he agreed to join the Wigan Warriors for the 2007 season.
Leuluai agreed a three-year deal with Wigan Warriors in December 2006 after months of speculation and rumours. He would replace Australians Michael Dobson and partner Trent Barrett in the halves during the 2007 season. Leuluai made his Wigan Super League debut in a 16–10 defeat against Warrington at the JJB Stadium on 9 February 2007. He scored the game-winning try against St. Helens at the JJB stadium and scored Wigan's first against Bradford in the history breaking 31–30 comeback win in the Play-offs.
On 9 May 2008 Leuluai played for New Zealand against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the Centenary Test, which took place 100 years to the day after the New Zealand 'All Golds' first met Australia. At the end of 2008 Leuluai played for the New Zealand team which won the 2008 World Cup.
In April 2009, having made over seventy appearances for the club, Leuluai extended his contract with the Wigan Warriors by three years to last him until the 2012 season.
The 2011 Wigan Warriors season started against St Helens RLFC in the opening fixture of the season, with his first try coming a week later at Bradford Bulls in Round 2. As well as playing in the 2011 World Club Challenge, Leuluai scored a brace in Round 4 against Salford City Reds. A try against Hull Kingston Rovers was followed with another against Crusaders RL in Rounds 10 and 13 respectively. He then claimed two more braces in consecutive matches, firstly against Barrow Raiders in the Challenge Cup fourth round, then against Harlequins in Round 14 of 2011's Super League XVI.
Return to New Zealand
In November 2011 Leuluai announced that he had signed a three-year contract with the New Zealand Warriors starting in 2013. In 2016 he was linked with a move back to Super League with St Helens, However, in July 2016, Leuluai announced he would be re-joining the Wigan Warriors in 2017.
- LEULUAI, THOMAS JAMES 2003 – 2010 – KIWI #704 nzleague.co.nz
- "Wigan Warriiors Player Profile Thomas Leuluai". web page. wiganwarriors.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- Thomas Leuluai rugbyleagueproject.org
- Rae, Richard (5 February 2006). "London calling". From The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
- "Kiwis select Sonny Bill". Sky Sports. 8 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2008.
- "Kiwis to wait on Webb and Matai". BBC. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
- "Leuluai pens new deal". www.wigantoday.net. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
- Hadfield, Dave (4 October 2010). "Maguire proves the guiding light as revitalised Wigan roll back the years". The Independent. UK: independent.co.uk. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- Scott, Ged (12 February 2011). "St Helens 16–16 Wigan". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Bradford 10 Wigan 44: Roberts shines on his return ahead of World Club Challenge". Daily Mail. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- Wilson, Andy (27 February 2011). "Wigan Warriors make brave attempt but Dragons are still worlds apart". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Salford City Reds 16–32 Wigan Warriors". BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Hull KR 16–28 Wigan". BBC. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- Wilson, Andy (1 May 2011). "Sam Tomkins dazzles as Wigan Warriors crush Crusaders". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Wigan 52–0 Barrow". BBC. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Wigan 54–6 Harlequins". BBC. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
- "Warrington dominate Exiles picks for Origin fixture". bbc.co.uk. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- Thomas Leuluai signs with Warriors for 2013 stuff.co.nz, 20 November 2011