Now on the cusp of his fourth season with the Brumbies, Fotu Auelua has become one of the club’s cult heroes thanks to his tribal hair, huge ball carries and bone-jarring defence.
Never one to shy away from contact, Auelua’s ability to get his side on the front foot has been the basis of the Brumbies success against South African sides for the last four years. While his 2014 season was hampered by injury, Auelua has come off the back of a big pre-season and will rip into the 2015 calendar full tilt.
In short, Auelua thrives in the contact zone. He’s big, aggressive and downright scary, making him one of the most talked about loose-forwards in the Australian Conference.
One of the older heads in the Brumbies squad, Auelua has been in and around the team’s Leadership Group for the last three seasons and was Captain of the UC Vikings during their 2014 NRC campaign.
Despite the Vikings tasting limited success in 2014, the experience Auelua gained through his time with a ‘C’ next his name will almost certainly have a positive impact not only on his own game but those playing around him.
Auelua grew up in Sydney’s west and was a rugby league prodigy until his later high-schooling years. Junior football saw him represent the Parramatta Eels and Fairfield Patrician Brothers in league while balancing time with the Campbelltown Harlequins and Illawarra in rugby.
Prior to the Brumbies, Auelua has cut his teeth as a pro-rugby player with European giants, Toulon and in Japan with NTT Communications.
1999: Selected for the NSW Country U16s side out of the Illawarra and Campbelltown Harlenquins sides; plays Harold Mathews Cup for Parramatta Eels.
2001: Represents the CAS, NSW Schoolboys and Australian Schoolboys from Trinity Grammar in Sydney.
2006: Moves to France to take up a contract with US Dax, stays for two seasons before moving south to Toulon.
2008: Is included in Toulon’s fulltime roster alongside players like Jonny Wilkinson and Tana Umaga; is a regular in their 1st XV
2011: Enters contract talks with Australian franchises to return from France, eventually deciding the Brumbies was his best option; signs a deal with Japanese club NTT Communications on his way back to Australia and plays out the Japanese season.
2012: Arrives in Canberra injured but makes his long-awaited debut against the Rebels in Canberra from No.8; goes on to feature in the Brumbies match-day 22 for the rest of the year.
2013: Plays all but one game for the Brumbies on their march to the finals; is injured before the June break and misses the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia; is selected in the Wallabies extended squad.
2014: Suffers an injury during the trials and misses the first half of the season; returns to feature off the bench as the Brumbies surged towards their second consecutive finals series; is named Captain of the UC Vikings squad to contest the NRC and features in eight games.