The Converts: Five Rugby League to Rugby Union Success Stories
OK, so he wasn't the greatest Union player. But he did have a big impact on the game and was influential in the Wallabies World Cup team in 2003. Tuqiri debuted for the Brisbane Broncos in 1999 as a 20-year-old. He was part of a formidable side that included fellow convert Wendell Sailor, Darren Lockyher, and the great Allan Langer amongst others. It didn't take Tuqiri long to fit in with these legends of the game however, which was proven as he was voted the Broncos Rookie of the Year. In the coming years Tuqiri would make his name as one of the most dangerous players in the game, winning the 2000 premiership and gaining selection to the Maroons State of Origin team and the Australian National Side. It came as a surprise to many then, that Tuqiri announced he would be switching to Rugby Union and playing for the New South Wales Waratahs for the 2002 season. His transfer was initially a success as he proved to be a handful for opposing teams and seemed to be a likely candidate for a Wallaby jersey. He got his jersey in 2003 as he was part of their World Cup side that came second, scoring a try in the Final against England. Tuqiri continued in Union for the next four years, but things didn't go as smoothly as his first two seasons. He was criticized for being brainless, and it seemed teams had worked out how to handle him, as he became less influential. In saying that, this happens to everyone as other teams analyze a player's game. Tuqiri's contract with the ARU was terminated in 2008 for violation of team rules. This spelled the end to Tuqiri's Super 14 and Wallaby career. He proceeded on to sign a deal with the Leicester Tigers for 2009. In 2010 Lote Tuqiri re-signed with the NRL, signing a three year deal with Wests Tigers.