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Nili Latu, playing name of Otenili Langilangi (born 19 February 1982) is a Tongan rugby union footballer. In 2018, Latu left Newcastle Falcons after helping Falcons achieve 4th in the Aviva Premiership, the highest finish in 20 years. He moved to Japan to continue playing rugby.

Nili Latu
Nili Latu.jpg
Birth name'Otenili Latu Langilangi
Date of birth (1982-02-19) February 19, 1982 (age 37)
Place of birthAfa, Tonga
Height1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight101 kg (15 st 13 lb; 223 lb)
Notable relative(s)Doug Howlett (cousin)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker, Number 8
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
NEC Green Rockets
Newcastle Falcons
NEC Green Rockets
Correct as of 24 August 2015
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2004–2007 Bay of Plenty 25 (15)
Correct as of 24 August 2015
Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
Correct as of 24 August 2015
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Pacific Islanders
Correct as of 3 July 2017

Latu started his rugby at Bay of Plenty in the Air New Zealand Cup. He made his debut for the Chiefs in 2005 in a match against the Sharks. He made his debut for Tonga on June 4, 2006 against Japan. He then played against Fiji, and in his third Test, skippered Tonga against the Junior All Blacks, and then against the Cook Islands. He was used as a replacement in the match against Samoa, and then captained the side against the second Test against the Cook Islands.

In late 2006 Latu was drafted into the Hurricanes squad as cover for All Black absentees Jerry Collins and Rodney So'oialo for the 2007 season. He played in the 2007 Rugby World Cup for Tonga where he was instrumental for their National Team. He also made a name for himself with his big tackles. In 2008 he was included in a list of the 50 best rugby players in the world by The Independent newspaper.[1]

He joined Japanese club NEC Green Rockets in 2007 and made 63 appearances before moving to his new club Newcastle Falcons at the end of the 2015 season. He has also captained the Tonga national rugby side at international level and has appeared in two Rugby World Cup's. Nili has also played for the Pacific Islanders in the 2006 and 2008 tours.

On 17 April 2015, Latu left Japan to join English club Newcastle Falcons in the Aviva Premiership from the 2015-16 season.[2]

After the 2017–18 Season Finished, Latu announced he would be leaving Newcastle Falcons and Returning to his former club NEC Green Rockets.

On May 22, Latu was named in the Barbarians Squad to Face England in the Quilter Cup fixture. Nili played alongside Falcons teammate Josh Matavesi and helped Barbarians win 63-45 at Twickenham.


  1. ^ "The 50 best rugby players in the world 2008". London: The Independent. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Nili Latu: Newcastle Falcons sign Tonga captain". BBC Sport. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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