Born: 3 January, 1992
Test record: 1 Test (2015) – 0 points
Tours: 2015 tour of England
Dual premiership-winning Sydney Roosters forward Siosiua Taukeiaho played a solitary Test for New Zealand in 2015 before becoming a vital cog in Mata Ma’a Tonga’s surge to international rugby league prominence.
The Otara Scorpions junior was snapped up by the Warriors and featured in the club’s 2011 NYC Under-20s grand final triumph, as well as representing the Junior Kiwis that year. But Taukeiaho’s progress stalled and he played just one NRL game for the Warriors – in the last round of 2013 – before requesting a release to join Sydney Roosters.
After spending 2014 toiling away for Newtown Jets at NSW Cup level (as well an earning a post-season debut for Tonga against Papua New Guinea) Taukeiaho was one of the breakout finds of 2015. He played all 27 games for the Roosters, who took out the minor premiership and reached the preliminary final stage.
The 23-year-old was subsequently chosen in a youthful Kiwis squad for the Test series in England and came off the bench in the series opener, a 26-12 loss at Hull.
Taukeiaho became a regular back-row starter (and occasional goalkicker) for the battling Roosters in 2016, while he overcame an injury-hit start to 2017 to feature in the club’s resurgence to another prelim. He then spurned the Kiwis to represent Tonga at the World Cup, starring at prop and kicking 16 goals from 18 attempts in an unforgettable campaign that included a stunning pool upset of New Zealand and ended in a historic semi-final appearance.
Incredibly mobile but powerful with a huge engine, Taukeiaho became recognised as one of the NRL’s most valuable forwards. He was a front-row mainstay as the Roosters became the first club in decades to win back-to-back grand finals.
Taukeiaho also skippered Tonga in its ground-breaking victories over Great Britain and Australia at the end of 2019.
His 167-game tenure for the perennial heavyweight Roosters finished in 2022, becoming a prized signing for Super League outfit Catalans. The veteran captained Mate Ma’a Tonga again at the World Cup at the of 2022, where they were upset by Samoa in the quarters.