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Charles Piutau on the 'hardest point in my career so far'

By Online Editors

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Charles Piutau is widely regarded as one of the most talented backs in world rugby, expected to go on and win many more All Blacks caps than his current tally of sixteen.


In a candid interview with Donald McRae of the Guardian, Piatau discusses his rationale behind leaving New Zealand in 2015 just before the Rugby World Cup.

A World Cup you would presume Piutau would be a part of and it all seems to have happened remarkably last minute.

“That was the hardest point in my career so far,” Piutau says.

“It was another dream to play in a World Cup – and falling short was tough. But the Ulster offer came out of the blue.”

“I was counting on my agent agreeing a contract with New Zealand and he had to tell me about Ulster the night before we were meant to finalise things.”

“I was like: ‘You’ve got to give me two weeks to think about this.’ I wasn’t thinking of coming overseas.”


Piutau didn’t have the easiest start to life, giving a greater insight as to why he was willing to forgo additional All Black caps for a big money move abroad.

He speaks of growing up in Mangere a tough suburb of Auckland the youngest of a family of ten.

He and his brothers “lived in the garage. We had three beds and a couple of bunk beds. I guess they were hard times but it never felt like that,” said Piutau.


“It speaks volumes for my parents that I never thought ‘I’m still hungry’ or ‘I need clothes.”

“But you look back at 12 people needing to be fed and you think: ‘How did they do it?’ I just take the positives – the love they showed and the discipline they taught us.”

It was that love and admiration of his parents that ultimately swayed Piutau’s decision to emigrate, as it would give him the ability to provide for his family.

“When I was in New Zealand it felt like the All Blacks were everything,” said Piutau.

“It felt like you were going to play forever.”

“You felt invincible.”

“But, taking a step back, you realise it’s such a short career.”

“For me, what really hit home was remembering everything my parents had done for me and my siblings.”

“They left Tonga for New Zealand to give us better opportunities.”

“And for me, coming here, I had the same chance to do something similar for my family.”


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PRO 14    

Charles Piutau on the 'hardest point in my career so far'