Born: 22 October, 1982 – Auckland
Test record: 4 Tests (2006-07) – 0 points
Tours: 2006 Tri Nations, 2007 tour of Great Britain and France
Wing giant Tame Tupou played four Tests for New Zealand in 2006-07 during stints with Brisbane Broncos and Bradford Bulls.
An Ellerslie Eagles junior represented New Zealand A in 2003 after shining on the flank in the Bartercard Cup for Eastern Tornadoes.
Snapped up by the Broncos, Tupou made a two-dry NRL debut in the last round of 2004 and featured in both of the club’s finals matches. He turned out in just four games for the heavyweights in 2005 but a strong start to 2006 saw the 23-year-old fill the breach left by an injured Manu Vatuvei in New Zealand’s side for the early-season Test against Australia.
With just 14 NRL appearances under his belt, Tupou debuted on the wing in a 50-12 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.
Tupou bagged 13 regular-season tries for the Broncos but was dropped during the playoffs, missing the club’s grand final triumph. Nevertheless, he played in two Tri Nations matches at the end of the season – a 30-18 loss to Australia in Melbourne and an 18-14 win over Great Britain in Christchurch.
On the outer in Brisbane, Tupou joined Bradford midway through 2007 and found immediate tryscoring touch with 10 tries in 12 games to win a spot in the Kiwis’ end-of-season squad. After featuring in the All Golds’ commemorative match against a Northern Union combination, Tupou made a further Test appearance in the series-opening loss to Great Britain in Huddersfield.
Persistent knee injuries curtailed Tupou’s stay with the Bulls and scuppered an NRL return with Wests Tigers, forcing him into premature retirement in 2010.