Lote Tu’ipulotu Signs with the Utah Warriors
Salt Lake City, November 29, 2017: The Utah Warriors and Head Coach Alf Daniels announce the signing of USA Islander and Mate Ma’a Tonga League international, Lote Tuipulotu.
“Being selected as a Warrior means a lot to me. This opportunity shows me that hard work pays off,” said Tuipulotu. “I’ve worked hard for so long, so this really is dream come true. I’m looking forward to doing my best and contributing however I can for the team this season.”
Tuipulotu was born and raised in Tonga playing 1st XV rugby at Liahona High School. Straight out of High School Lote was selected for the Mate Ma’a Tonga Rugby League squad but put his rugby career on hold to serve an LDS mission. When Lote returned from the Philippines he played international Rugby League for Tonga from 2010 to 2014 and was also a part of the Tonga A Rugby Union squad in 2015.
“I’ve worked hard for so long, so this really is dream come true. I’m looking forward to doing my best and contributing however I can for the team this season.”
Lote moved to the United States two years ago and has been an important part of the Utah Brothers Rugby Club. His stand-out performance in the local Men’s Premier Division earned him selection last year for the Rugby Utah Men’s Select side where he continued to thrive and was named in the USA Islanders squad. Lote joined the Islanders in Bermuda and earned a starting spot at hooker against Aviva Premiership Champions Saracens.
“Lote has had international experience in both codes of rugby, and we’re excited to see him in our High-Performance program,” said Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels. “As you can see from the recent social media hype around Mate Ma’a Tonga, rugby means a lot to the Tongan people. It’s that kind of passion for the game that Lote brings to our team. Lote’s a compact unit with surprising speed and a lot of power. His ability to play both prop and hooker at a high level is something very unique. He’s a man of few words, but has an intensity and work ethic that speaks volumes on the field”.
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