Test record: 4 Tests (1993) – 2 tries (8 points)
Tours: 1993 tour of Britain and France
Centre/winger Iva Ropati, the third of the famous Auckland footballing family to represent New Zealand at Test level, had stints at Parramatta Eels and Auckland Warriors following a nomadic period on the British club scene.
An Otahuhu Leopards product who was part of the New Zealand side that won the 1986 Universities World Cup, Ropati joined Te Atatu Roosters for a momentous 1988 campaign featuring Fox Memorial Cup grand final success and a debut for Auckland.
From the late-1980s Ropati enjoyed stays with British outfits Featherstone Rovers, Sheffield Eagles (where he scored a long-standing club record of 30 tries in the 1991-92 season) and Oldham, while a return home in the northern hemisphere summer allowed him the opportunity to line up alongside brothers Joe, John, Peter and Tea for Mangere East Hawks in 1991, as well as starring for Auckland at provincial level.
Prior to rejoining Featherstone for the 1993-94 season, Ropati received his maiden Kiwis call-up for the ’93 tour of Britain and France. He scored a try on Test debut at centre against Wales and crossed again after being drafted into the New Zealand backline for the second Test against Great Britain. Ropati was retained at centre for the third-Test loss against Great Britain before coming off the bench in the one-off clash with France.
The 25-year-old played in a further five tour matches, adding three tries to his tally.
The classy three-quarter played four first-grade games for the Eels in 1994 and a further seven for the Warriors in 1996-97 (also featuring in the club’s reserve grade grand final losses both years).
Ropati’s eventful career wound down in the late-1990s with Manurewa Marlins in the ARL competition and as a provincial import for Taranaki. A school principal, he continued to serve rugby league in an administrative and board member capacity.