Tuilagi. A name synonymous with power, aggression and the sport of rugby itself.
As sporting dynasties go, they don’t come much more prolific than this Samoan rugby family – and the genetic production line’s next generation of talent is starting to emerge.
In January Leicester Tigers announced that Fred Tuilagi Jnr had agreed new contract terms with the club and is now listed in their first-team squad for 2018/19.
The 21-year-old is the son of former Tigers wing Freddie and nephew to Henry, Alesana and Manu. Like his uncle, Fred has passed through the Tigers’ academy programme, which can already lay claim to producing Tom and Ben Youngs, Dan Cole, Tom Croft and Matt Smith among others.
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His older brother Brian also came through the Tigers academy, before winning a development contract at Saracens where he made several appearances. The 6’3, 114kg older sibling has since signed for Dax in the ProD2.
Like brother Brian and uncles Vavae and Henry, Fred has also made his home in the backrow, albeit having converted from the frontrow. The 6’3, 120kg Halifax born Tuilagi transitioned to backrow during his time in the Tigers academy, with the club presumably eager get the most out of his explosive ball-carrying.
He further developed as a ball carrying number eight during loan spells National League clubs Coventry, South Leicester and Leicester Lions, before last season establishing himself in the wider Tigers squad with appearances in the Premiership ‘A’ League.
He made his senior debut as a replacement in a win at Bath in the opening round of the successful Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign in 2016/17 and he played in all four games in the tournament in the 2017/18 season.
If there was any doubt as to if he possessed that trademark Tuilagi power and aggression, than a brief cameo at the Singha 7s in 2016 will have put paid to it.
He took just 7 seconds for Fred Tuilagi Jnr to be sent off with a yellow card for a ferocious high shot (see video below).
The apple clearly hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Premiership, you have been warned.
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