Born: 30 April, 1983 – Wellington
Test record: 10 Tests (2005-07) – 1 try (4 points)
Tours: 2005 Tri Nations, 2006 Tri Nations
Evasive hooker David Faiumu was a valuable strike weapon off the bench for North Queensland Cowboys and in 10 Tests for New Zealand in the mid-2000s.
After representing the Junior Kiwis in 2001 while on Canberra’s books, the Wellington-born, Wainuiomata junior made his NRL debut for the rising Cowboys in 2004. He played 13 top-grade games but missed out on the club’s maiden finals campaign with a shoulder injury that also prevented him from accepting a Kiwis call-up for the Tri Nations.
The 22-year-old cemented a place in the Cowboys’ 17 in 2005 and although he was a capable starting No.9, Faiumu was the perfect foil for regular rake Aaron Payne, terrorising tiring defences with his livewire dummy-half play and dazzling sidestep.
He played 21 matches and danced his way over for five tries, including an important touchdown in the Cowboys’ sudden-death finals win over Melbourne. Faiumu’s off-the-cuff style suited North Queensland’s exciting brand of attack and he came off the bench in the grand final defeat to the Tigers.
Rewarded with a belated New Zealand berth for the 2005 Tri Nations tournament, Faiumu debuted in the Kiwis’ 38-28 win over Australia in Sydney and came off the bench in the historic 24-0 triumph against the Kangaroos in the final.
Faiumu held his Test spot for the 2006 Anzac Test but was the only member of the previous year’s victorious squad who did not back up to defend the title, instead undergoing groin surgery.
The Cowboys’ return to the finals in 2007 coincided with Faiumu once again producing his best. He was picked for both Tests against Australia during the season and toured with the Kiwis at the end of the year, coming off the bench in the record defeat to Great Britain in the second Test and the one-off win over France. Faiumu also started at hooker in the All Golds’ commemorative match against Northern Union in Warrington.
After an unhappy start to 2008 Faiumu was released by the Cowboys. He subsequently signed with Super League side Huddersfield for the remainder of the season and was named in Samoa’s World Cup squad but did not play a match.
Faiumu became a Giants stalwart during a fruitful period, however, racking up over 150 appearances for the club as a hooker, lock or interchange. He played one Test for Samoa in 2010 – as a lock against New Zealand at Mt Smart Stadium as the Kiwis warmed up for the Four Nations.