Now in his third season with the University of Canberra Brumbies, Fotu Auelua has quickly developed into one of the squad’s key enforcers.
A brutal carry and fearsome tackle tech have dominated media highlight reels for the last two seasons, while inclusion in the Wallabies train-on squad in 2013 added genuine credentials to Auelua’s selectability.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand and raised in Sydney’s Western Suburbs, Auelua could have made it in the NRL and was on the radar of the Parramatta Eels though his teens.
After starring for Campbelltown, Illawarra and NSW Country, as a 15 year old, Auelua moved to CAS rugby nursery Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill in 2001 where he was selected for the Australian Schoolboys, before moving north to the Southport School in Southern Queensland a year later.
On the cusp of 30, Auelua is no spring chicken. The Samoan knows his way around the professional rugby circuit having been a star in the French and Japanese top comps before joining the UC Brumbies in 2012.
While playing for European giants Toulon, Auelua came in contact with some of the world’s best players including Jonny Wilkinson, Tanan Umaga and Sonny-Bill Williams. Auelua credits Umaga in particular for shaping his career and educating him on the importance of professionalism in training and game-day preparation.
Ironically, Auelua now finds himself in a similar role to Umaga with the UC Brumbies, encouraging many of the side’s younger islander players to reach their full potential. Along with Christian Lealiifano, Auelua is recognised as a role model at the UC Brumbies both on and off the fields.
Supported by two sons and his partner Anita, Auelua will be looking to make the next step in his professional career by earning a debut Wallabies cap in 2014.