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LA born, Kiwi raised winger could be shock Wallabies bolter

Toni Pulu of the Chiefs is tackled by two Hurricanes defenders

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Western Force prop Tom Robertson predicts Toni Pulu could be a shock Wallabies bolter following the winger’s standout performances for the Perth-based franchise.


Pulu, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in New Zealand, qualifies for Wallabies selection due to his Australian mother.

The 31-year-old spent four seasons with the Chiefs and two seasons with the Brumbies before signing for the Force at the end of last year.

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Some minor injuries and a three-week suspension has meant that Pulu’s appearances for the Force have been somewhat limited.

But when he has been on the park he has been a standout, with his lightning speed helping set up numerous forward thrusts.

Pulu received a surprise invitation to a Wallabies World Cup planning session in 2019, but he was unable to crack through for a game.

Robertson feels it’s a matter of time before Pulu gets an international call-up.


“His impact coming off the wing is massive,” Robertson said of Pulu, who was once rated the fastest player in NZ rugby.

“When he’s fit, and not suspended, he’s been one of our best week to week.

“I think he’s destined to play higher honours with the Wallabies or wherever. I think he’s an incredible athlete, and a very good player when he’s on the field.

“I played against the Chiefs a few times when I was at the Waratahs, I didn’t know him personally, but I knew he was a fast winger.


“I don’t come up against fast wingers much in my position. But coming over here and seeing the impact he has for the team out wide, it’s exciting to watch. I think there’s only big things to come for Toni.”

The Force will be aiming to bounce back from last week’s 43-6 flogging from the Hurricanes when they take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.

Pulu is excited at the prospect of coming up against flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, who has been in scintillating form for the Crusaders.

“He’s in a different position to me, but I’ve been watching hi m since I’ve been playing, and he’s improved,” Pulu said.

“I think he’s one of the best rugby players in the world. Just to play against a good outfit like the Crusaders is exciting, and I’m looking forward to it.

“The Crusaders have been the best rugby club in the world for the last f ive years. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”


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