Utah Warriors & Lote Tuipulotu
The Utah Warriors and Head Coach Alf Daniels announced the signing of USA Islander and Mate Ma’a Tonga League international, Lote Tuipulotu for the 2018 Major League Rugby season. Lote can ply both hooker and prop. He is 30 years old, 5’6″ and 256 pounds.
Tuipulotu was born and raised in Tonga and played1st XV rugby at Liahona High School in Liahona, Tonga. After graduating High School, Lote was selected for the Mate Ma’a Tonga Rugby League squad but first served on an LDS mission in the Philippines. After returning from the mission, he played international Rugby League for Tonga from 2010 to 2014 and was also a part of the Tonga A Rugby Union squad in the World Rugby Pacific Challenge 2015.
He then moved to the United States two years ago and joined the Utah Brothers Rugby Club. He performed well for the club in the Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division and was selected in 2017 for the Rugby Utah Men’s Select side. In August 2017 he was named in the USA Islanders squad for the match against the Aviva Premiership Champions Saracens in Bermuda.
In the Utah Warriors release, Tuipulotu said that “Being selected as a Warrior means a lot to me. This opportunity shows me that hard work pays off,” said Tuipulotu. “I’ve worked hard for so long, so this really is dream come true. I’m looking forward to doing my best and contributing, however, I can for the team this season.”
“I’ve worked hard for so long, so this really is dream come true. I’m looking forward to doing my best and contributing, however, I can for the team this season.”
Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels said “Lote has had international experience in both codes of rugby, and we’re excited to see him in our High-Performance program. As you can see from the recent social media hype around Mate Ma’a Tonga, rugby means a lot to the Tongan people. It’s that kind of passion for the game that Lote brings to our team. Lote’s a compact unit with surprising speed and a lot of power. His ability to play both prop and hooker at a high level is something very unique. He’s a man of few words, but has an intensity and work ethic that speaks volumes on the field”.
- Alf Daniels – Head Coach
- Paul Lasike – Center
- John Cullen – Lock, Backrow
- Lote Tuipulotu – Hooker (Prop)