Nepo Laulala

Nepo Laulala

SNAPSHOT

  • Position: Prop
  • Born: 06/11/91
  • Height: 184
  • Weight: 116
  • Province: Counties Manukau
  • Provincial Caps: 48
  • Provincial Points: 5
  • Provincial Debut: 2011 v North Otago (Canterbury)
  • Test Caps: 30
  • Test Debut: 2015 v Samoa

Nepo Laulala has fought back from injury adversity to become one of the games most respected scrummaging props.

Born in Samoa, Nepo moved to Auckland with his family and developed his early rugby life at Mt Albert Grammar and then Wesley College, with his young life as a school 1st XV player playing alongside the likes of Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piutau, Augustine Pulu and Karl Tu’inukuafe.

He was signed initially by Canterbury where he made his ITM Cup debut in 2011 and progressed to the Crusaders in 2013 where he played 45 times through to 2015, which was the year he made his debut for the All Blacks, fittingly against Samoa at Apia.

Nepo moved to the Chiefs in 2016 but a serious knee injury ruled out any rugby that year, returning to play for the Chiefs in 2017 which he played strongly including the clash against the British and Irish Lions. Although initially missing selection to the All Blacks after a further run of injuries, Nepo came in for injured Owen Franks against Australia in the second Bledisloe cup test. His strong performance led to a full return although he fractured his arm against the Blues in an early 2018 Super Rugby clash and there were complications in the recovery. Nepo finally returned for Counties Manukau late in 2018 to earn a spot in the All Blacks end of year northern tour, making his international return against Australia. He made just his 4th start in the final match of that tour against Italy.

He played for the Chiefs in 2019 and returned to the All Blacks in the victory over Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup clash and won a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup side, playing in all games.

With the birth of their second child, Nepo made the decision to return home to Auckland, and moved to the Blues for the 2021 Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.