Leicester Fainga'anuku

Leicester Ofa Ki Wales Twickenham Fainga'anuku[1] (born 11 October 1999) is a Tongan born New Zealand rugby union player who plays for Tasman in the Bunnings NPC competition and the Crusaders in Super Rugby.[2] His position of choice is wing.[3]

Leicester Fainga'anuku
Date of birth (1999-10-11) 11 October 1999 (age 22)
Place of birthNukuʻalofa, Tonga
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight109 kg (240 lb; 17 st 2 lb)
SchoolNelson College
Notable relative(s)Tima Fainga'anuku (brother)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre
Current team Tasman, Crusaders
All Black No. 1200
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2018– Tasman 35 (100)
2019– Crusaders 42 (85)
Correct as of 9 July 2022
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2018–2019 New Zealand U20 9 (35)
2020 South Island 1 (0)
2020 Moana Pasifika 1 (0)
2022– New Zealand 2 (0)
Correct as of 9 July 2022

Early careerEdit

Fainga'anuku was educated at Nelson College, where he was captain of the school's top side.[4]

His father Malakai Fainga’anuku played prop for Tonga in the 1999 Rugby World Cup. During one of the games during the World Cup, in which Tonga beat Italy, at Welford Road Stadium, Leicester, England. Malakai named his son after the city in honour of the game. Wales was used as one of his middle names as the hosts and Twickenham was named after Twickenham Stadium where Tonga were due to play their next match.[5]

TasmanEdit

Fainga'anuku was named in the Tasman Mako squad for the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup and made his debut in Round 8 when Tasman played Otago at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin coming off the bench in a 21–47 win for the Mako.[6] He was part of the Tasman team that won the Mitre 10 Cup for the first time in 2019. He was again part of the Mako side that won the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup. Fainga’anuku had an outstanding 2021 Bunnings NPC as Tasman made the final before losing 23–20 to Waikato.

CrusadersEdit

Fainga'anuku was named in the Crusaders squad for the 2019 Super Rugby season signing him on a three year deal.[7][8] He made his debut off the bench against the Brumbies in Round 11 but that was the only game he played in the 2019 season as the Crusaders went on to win their third Super Rugby title in a row.[9] In 2020 Leicester made 11 appearances as the Crusaders won Super Rugby Aotearoa. Fainga’anuku starred during the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season as the side won their fifth title in a row. Fainga'anuku was one of the best players during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season in which the Crusaders made it six in a row with a 7–21 win over the Blues in the final.

North v SouthEdit

Fainga'anuku was named in the South Island squad for the North vs South rugby union match in 2020, coming off the bench in a 38–35 win for the South.

Moana PasifikaEdit

Fainga'anuku was named in the Moana Pasifika squad to play the Maori All Blacks in late 2020, starting in the number 14 jersey in a 28–21 loss.

All BlacksEdit

After being one of the best players during the 2022 Super Rugby season, Fainga'anuku was selected in the year's first All Black squad. He was named to debut as a starting winger in the first of three tests against Ireland in July.[10][11] New Zealand won the match 42–19, with Fainga'anuku becoming All Black number 1200.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ reporters, Stuff sports (1 July 2022). "The story behind new All Black Leicester Fainga'anuku's name". Stuff. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Leicester Fainga'anuku". Mako.nz. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Leicester Fainga'anuku". itsrugby.co.uk. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Faingaanuku brothers, Tima and Leicester, dream of wearing the black jersey". Stuff. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  5. ^ "The story behind new All Black Leicester Fainga'anuku's name". July 2022.
  6. ^ "2018 Tasman Mako Squad Announced". Mako.nz. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Crusaders lock in highly touted Leicester Faingaanuku for three years". stuff.co.nz. November 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  8. ^ "2019 Crusaders squad named". Stuff.co.nz. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Leicester Faingaanuku". crusaders.co.nz. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Six New Caps in All Blacks Squad For 2022 Steinlager Series". allblacks.com. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  11. ^ Knowler, Richard (30 June 2022). "All Blacks: Scott Barrett surprise selection at blindside flanker for Ireland test". Stuff. Retrieved 30 June 2022. Leicester Fainga’anuku to make his test debut on the left wing.