Despite spending most of 2016 on the sideline due a hamstring injury early in the season, Latu came back with a vengeance as soon as he had the opportunity, showcasing a set of impressive performances for Buildcorp NRC Grand Finalists, the NSW Country Eagles.
His tenacity paid off, noticed by Michael Cheika and called up to the Wallabies squad for their tour of South Africa and England against South Africa and Argentina respectively in The Rugby Championship. It was the second time Latu had earned such a promotion, with a broken arm costing him his chance to make his Test debut back in 2014.
This year, however, he did manage to run out in the Gold jersey becoming Wallaby number 902 against Wales during the Spring Tour.
Prior to 2016, the 23-year-old hooker had already starred for the Waratahs on 28 occasions in his two years for the Club. Showing promising impact in the front row, Latu was recognised with the 2015 Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Medal, awarded to a younger player who has shown the most promise during the season, as voted by the coaching staff.
Born in Tonga, as an only child, which is quite rare in Pasifika cultures where big families are common, Latu moved to Sydney where he attended Botany Bay Primary School before becoming a student at South Sydney High.
His rugby began with the Canterbury juniors where he started as a back, before moving to the centres and then finally settling in as a forward.
The NSW Waratahs hooker joined the likes of Liam Gill, Sean McMahon and Kyle Godwin as a representative in the Australian Under 20s squad in 2012.
In 2013, Latu made a solid contribution to Sydney Uni’s Shute Shield title win against Eastwood, scoring a try in his inaugural first-grade Grand Final.
It wasn’t long before Tolu stepped up for his Super Rugby debut in round one of 2014. It was a season which saw the reliable forward appear 14 times for the the Tahs in their first Championship season, juggling much of his training with midnight to 11am shifts driving forklifts at Flemington Markets.
Adding an extra four appearances during the 2015 Super Rugby season, Latu was called upon to make his starting debut in the number two jersey in round six during the Waratahs’ victory over the Brumbies where he crossed for his maiden Super Rugby try.
Last updated: 21/12/16