Tupou Sopoaga

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Tupou Sopoaga
Tupou Sopoaga.jpg
Personal information
Born (1992-06-05) 5 June 1992 (age 25)
Wellington, New Zealand
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 100 kg (15 st 10 lb)
Playing information
Rugby league
Position Second-row, Lock
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013–14 Cronulla Sharks 16 0 0 0 0
2015 Penrith Panthers 5 0 0 0 0
Total 21 0 0 0 0
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013–16 Cook Islands 3 0 0 0 0
Rugby union
Position Flanker
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2016 Western Sydney Rams 7 0 0 0 0
2017– Highlanders 1 0 0 0 0
2017– Southland 0 0 0 0 0
Total 8 0 0 0 0
As of 30 September 2016
Source: [1]

Tupou Sopoaga (born 5 June 1992) is a New Zealand professional rugby union footballer who currently plays for the Southland Stags of the Mitre 10 Cup. He previously played rugby league for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Penrith Panthers of the National Rugby League. A Cook Islands international representative, Sopoaga primarily played second-row and lock.

Early years[edit]

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Sopoaga is of Cook Islander and Samoan descent. He is the younger brother of New Zealand rugby union representative Lima,[2] and cousin of former Cronulla and Cook Islands teammate, Tinirau Arona.[3] Sopoaga played his junior rugby league for the Petone Panthers, and was selected to play for the New Zealand schoolboys rugby union team in 2010 while attending Wellington College.[4] He was signed by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and played for their NYC team in 2011 and 2012. On 4 October 2012, Sopoaga signed a 1-year contract with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks starting in 2013. On 13 October 2012, Sopoaga played for the Junior Kiwis.[5]

Professional playing career[edit]

Sopoaga playing for the Sharks in 2013

2013[edit]

Sopoaga played for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks' NSW Cup team throughout 2013.[6] He was made his NRL debut for the Sharks on 9 September in their round 26 match against the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium.[7] On 22 September, Sopoaga was named at second-row in the 2013 New South Wales Cup Team of the Year.[8] Sopoaga represented the Cook Islands at the 2013 World Cup,[9] playing in two matches, against the United States and Wales on 30 October and 10 November respectively.

2014[edit]

In February 2014, Sopoaga was selected in the Sharks' inaugural 2014 Auckland Nines squad.[10] Sopoaga finished the Sharks 2014 season with him playing in 15 matches. On 11 November 2014, Sopoaga signed a 2-year contract with the Penrith Panthers starting in 2015.[11]

2015[edit]

On 24 January 2015, Sopoaga was named in the Panthers 2015 Auckland Nines squad.[12] On 8 August 2015, he made his Panthers debut in Round 22 against the Parramatta Eels.[13] On 25 September, Sopoaga was named in the Cook Islands' train-on squad for their 2017 World Cup qualification match against Tonga on 17 October,[14] but did not play in the game.[15]

2016[edit]

Sopoaga captained the Cook Islands in their 30-20 win over Lebanon on 8 May.[16] After receiving no NRL game time from the Panthers in 2016, Sopoaga began playing for rugby union club the Western Sydney Rams of the National Rugby Championship in late 2016.[17]

2017[edit]

Sopoaga returned home to New Zealand to continue playing rugby union. He signed with the Southland province where all three of his brothers play.[18] He also achieved the rare feat of debuting for the Highlanders before playing first class rugby in New Zealand as an injury crisis struck their loose forward stocks.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tupou Sopoaga". Rugby League Project. 
  2. ^ "Old Boys-University: Lima Sopoaga". Club Rugby. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Riccio, David (10 March 2014). "Cronulla Sharks cousins Tinirau Arona and Tupou Sopoaga ready to take on NRL". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  4. ^ "Rugby: NZ schools team to play Australia named". Otago Daily Times. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Junior Kiwis Squad announced – Canterbury Rugby League – SportsTG. Foxsportspulse.com (2 October 2012). Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  6. ^ "Shooting Stars - VB NSW Cup Grand Final". NSWRL.com.au. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Raiders’ agony finally over for season 2013. Smh.com.au (9 September 2013). Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  8. ^ "2013 NSWRL.com.au VB NSW Cup Team of the Year – Announcement". NSWRL.com.au. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  9. ^ Madame H (10 October 2013). "Cook Islands World Cup Squad". Triple M. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Luca, Rocco. (14 February 2014) Squads For Auckland Nines. Rugby League Week. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  11. ^ Luca, Rocco. (11 November 2014) Panthers Sign Tupou Sopoaga. Rugby League Week. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  12. ^ Luca, Rocco. (24 January 2015) PANTHERS UNVEIL 2015 NINES SQUAD. Rugby League Week. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  13. ^ Updated: Round 22 NRL team lists. NRL.com. Retrieved on 3 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Cook Islands train-on squad named". NRL.com. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Cook Islands finalise squad for World Cup Qualifier". Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "Sport: Cook Islands criticise NRL clubs after Lebanon win". Radio New Zealand. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  17. ^ Worthington, Sam (10 September 2016). "Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga now starring in NRC for Western Sydney Rams". Fox Sports. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Savory, Logan (23 March 2017). "Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga to play rugby in Southland in 2017". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 August 2017. 
  19. ^ van Royen, Robert (29 March 2017). "Lima Sopoaga's brother set to make Super Rugby debut off the bench against Rebels". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 August 2017. 

External links[edit]