Tangaki Taulupe "Toby" Faletau (born 12 November 1990) is a Tongan-born Welsh professional rugby union player who represents Wales internationally. The back row forward played for Cross Keys RFC, Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons before joining Bath.
|Birth name||Tangaki Taulupe Faletau|
|Date of birth||12 November 1990|
|Place of birth||Tofoa, Tonga|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||110 kg (243 lb; 17 st 5 lb)|
|School||Pontygof Primary School, Ebbw Vale
Trevethin Community School|
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
|Rugby union career|
Faletau was born in Tofoa, Tonga, to Tongan international Kuli Faletau, who represented Tonga at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Kuli moved to Wales in 1997 to join Ebbw Vale. Taulupe attended Pontygof Primary School until 1999 and then Pontnewynydd Primary School until July 2002, then attended Trevethin Community School, then attended Filton College (now part of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College) as part of the college's successful rugby academy and received player of the year during his time at the college.
As a young boy, his school friends struggled to pronounce his Tongan name, and so he picked up the nickname Toby. In recent years, he has requested that his rugby squad name be recorded more accurately as Taulupe, but does not mind being called Toby.
Faletau spent his early years in Wales playing for Ebbw Vale RFC and New Panteg RFC juniors alongside Mako and Billy Vunipola until youth level, when he moved to Filton College, Bristol, to experience the English game. Prior to his move across the border, he had suffered several setbacks from both the Gwent District organisation and the Newport Gwent Dragons Regional.
On 22 December 2009, he was named in the Wales under-20 Squad for the 2010 Under-20 Six Nations tournament. In May 2010, he was selected for the Wales Under 20 Squad for the Junior World Cup in Argentina in June 2010.
Faletau played a significant role in Newport Gwent Dragons's run to the semi-finals of the 2014–15 European Rugby Challenge Cup, playing in seven of their eight games during the competition until they were eventually knocked out by Edinburgh.
He was first called up to the Wales senior squad on 1 November 2010 following the withdrawal of Ryan Jones and Rob McCusker. In January 2011, he was included in the Wales squad for the 2011 Six Nations Championship. He made his full international debut for Wales versus the Barbarians on 4 June 2011.
In August 2011, he was named in the Wales squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. On 11 September 2011, he made his World Cup debut for Wales against South Africa, scoring his first international try in the second half, adding another in the game against Namibia. He finished the tournament as the top tackler and ball carrier, the first time a single player has ever topped both tables. He was the only player to start all seven of Wales' games.
He then appeared in all five matches of Wales' Grand Slam-winning 2012 Six Nations Championship campaign, excelling throughout the championship and making many pundits' team of the tournament.
In May 2012, Faletau was announced in the Wales squad for the three test series against Australia, but he had to withdraw from the squad after suffering a broken hand in the first test in Brisbane.
In April 2013, Faletau was named in the squad for the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia. After failing to feature in the first two tests, Faletau was named at number 8 in the final test ahead of Jamie Heaslip. The Welshman was impressive, as the Lions beat Australia 41–16 securing their first test series win since 1997. During the same summer, it was announced that Faletau had signed a new three-year deal to remain at the Dragons region until 2016.
On 20 January 2014, Faletau was included in the 32-man Wales squad for the 2014 Six Nations Championship. He started all five games and scored a try in a 51–3 thrashing of Scotland on 15 March, as Wales finished the campaign in 3rd.
On 30 May 2014, Faletau was named in the 32-man squad for the mid-year test series against South Africa after playing in a "Possibles vs Probables" match at the Liberty Stadium, in which he played on the Probables team, which won 55–7. He started both tests on the tour including the narrow 31–30-second test defeat, in which Wales lost after conceding a last minute penalty try.
Faletau played every minute of Wales' 2015 Six Nations campaign, which included the Round 4 23–16 victory against Ireland in which Wales made a massive 250 tackles to deny the Irish a grand slam, and the final round 61–20 thrashing of Italy, which left Ireland needing to win their game against Scotland by 17 points or more to clinch the championship, which they did.
Before the game against Italy in the 2015 Six Nations campaign, an email from the Welsh Rugby Union indicated that Faletau wanted to be known by his birth name of Taulupe Faletau. Faletau was selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup later that year as part of Wales' 31-man squad. Faletau started in the quarter-final against South Africa on 17 October 2015 and was not subbed off, but Wales unluckily lost to South Africa 19–23, being knocked out of the competition.
Faletau and his English cousins, Mako and Billy Vunipola, were selected for the British & Irish Lions for their 2017 tour to New Zealand. However, Billy withdrew from the touring squad due to injury, leaving Faletau, as well as his brother to head off on their second Lions tour without him. Vunipola's injury went on to benefit Faletau, as he started the first match on tour, winning Man of the Match against the New Zealand Barbarians on 3 June 2017. Faletau went on to start in wins against the Crusaders and the Māori All Blacks, playing the full 80 minutes in both. Standout performances across the tour allowed Faletau a starting place in all three tests against the All Blacks. On 1 July 2017, Faletau scored the opening try of the second test against the All Blacks in the 59th minute, barging over All Blacks back Israel Dagg to score. Faletau's try inspired a late comeback from the Lions, with both teams down to 14 players, and the Lions went on to make a historic win over the All Blacks that day, beating them 24–21. Faletau finished the 1-1 drawn series without being subbed off for the whole Lions tour and played the most minutes of anyone on tour.
On 11 March 2018, in Wales' match against Italy, in the fifth round of the 2018 Six Nations Championship, Faletau was appointed as captain of the Welsh team for the first time in his career, becoming the 131st player to become captain of Wales' international rugby team. This marked a return from injury for Faletau, who played the full 80 minutes as Wales beat Italy 38–14.
|1||South Africa||Wellington, New Zealand||Westpac Stadium||2011 Rugby World Cup||11 September 2011||Loss|
|2||Namibia||New Plymouth, New Zealand||Yarrow Stadium||2011 Rugby World Cup||26 September 2011||Win|
|3||Argentina||Cardiff, Wales||Millennium Stadium||2013 Autumn Internationals||16 November 2013||Win|
|4||Scotland||Cardiff, Wales||Millennium Stadium||2014 Six Nations||15 March 2014||Win|
|5||Ireland||Dublin, Ireland||Lansdowne Road||2016 Six Nations||7 February 2016||Draw|
|6||England||London, England||Twickenham||2016 Six Nations||12 March 2016||Loss|
|7||New Zealand||Auckland, New Zealand||Eden Park||2016 Summer Internationals||11 June 2016||Loss|
|8||Italy||Rome, Italy||Stadio Olimpico||2021 Six Nations||13 March 2021||Win|
British & Irish LionsEdit
|1||New Zealand||Wellington, New Zealand||Westpac Stadium||2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand||1 July 2017||Win|
- Shuttleworth, Peter (1 February 2012). "Six Nations: Family fortune for Faletau favours Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Faletau is honoured by Wales call-up". BBC Sport. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Dragons' Dan Watchurst to lead Wales U20s in Argentina". BBC Sport. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Edinburgh 45–16 Dragons". BBC Sport. 17 April 2015.
- "Bath Rugby confirm Faletau signing". Bath Rugby. 9 December 2015.
- "Martyn Williams omitted from Wales Six Nations squad". BBC Sport. 23 January 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Wales 2011 Rugby World Cup squad". BBC Sport. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- "Australia v Wales: Toby Faletau ruled out, Gareth Delve called up". BBC Sport. 10 June 2012.
- "Six Nations 2013: Wales 30–3 England". BBC Sport. 16 March 2013.
- "2013 Lions Squad". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Warren Gatland names three uncapped players for Wales". BBC Sport. 22 October 2013.
- "Wales beat Argentina 40–6 in Cardiff in autumn international". BBC Sport. 16 November 2013.
- Broadley, Luke (14 January 2014). "Gatland Unveils Six Nations Squad". Welsh Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 14 January 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2021.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- "Six Nations 2014: Wales thrash Scotland as Stuart Hogg sent off". BBC Sport. 15 March 2014.
- "Matthew Rees makes Wales tour after cancer". BBC Sport. 30 May 2014.
- "Wales trial:Probables 55–7 Possibles". BBC Sport. 30 May 2014.
- "Wales beaten 31–30 by South Africa after late penalty try". BBC Sport. 21 June 2014.
- "Wales: No Adam Jones and James Hook in autumn squad". BBC Sport. 21 October 2014.
- "Wales 12–6 South Africa". BBC Sport. 29 November 2014.
- "Six Nations 2015: 'Exhausted' Sam Warburton praises Wales defence". BBC Sport. 15 March 2015.
- "Six Nations 2015: Italy 20–61 Wales". BBC Sport. 21 March 2015.
- Corrigan, James (10 March 2018). "Wales vs Italy preview: Taulupe Faletau vows to lead by example and let his actions do the talking". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2021.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
- Howell, Andy (10 March 2018). "New Wales skipper Taulupe Faletau says he was 'stunned' to be given the captaincy by Warren Gatland; Quiet man Faletau says he will lead by his actions rather than words as he skippers Wales for the first time". Wales Online. Retrieved 1 May 2021.