Brumbies winger Pulu Wallabies eligible

The Brumbies have nabbed Chiefs winger Toni Pulu on a two-year deal but he is no import.

Despite playing his entire professional career in New Zealand, LA-born Pulu could play for the Wallabies tomorrow if called up, though a rush into Test rugby isn’t believed to be likely.

Pulu holds an Australian passport through one of his parents and has never played international rugby for New Zealand, only featuring in a Sevens tournament for his native Niue in 2011. 

It was originally believed Pulu was given a dispensation to change his eligibility but in fact he was never actually eligible to play for Niue.

At the time, the onus was on the unions to ensure eligibility rather than the individual.

The speedster has scored 14 tries in 32 matches for the Chiefs since joining the Waikato franchise in 2016 after an impressive stint with NPC side Counties Manukau.

Pulu, 29, said he felt it was time for a change and Canberra felt like the right fit.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Brumbies and am looking forward to beginning a new stage of my rugby career in Australia,” he said.

“The Brumbies are a well-known and well-respected organisation and I have been impressed by what I have seen and heard when playing against them. They are known for their free-flowing rugby and for their unique family culture.

“I have enjoyed my time with the Chiefs immensely but am very much looking forward to moving to Canberra and settling in with my new club.”

The Brumbies have been working towards a more attack-focused approach and Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said Pulu would fit that.

“With the changes we’re making in our game, and the style we’re looking to play, we’ve got to recruit guys that match that,” he said.

“Toni has genuine speed, but not only that, he’s a natural footballer too, he sees space well, communicates and has an excellent offload game. He’s come from a team which has had a lot of success and play a similar style to the one we want to play so he’s a good fit for us. 

“Character is very important when we are deciding who to sign. We’ve got to bring talented players here, but the right people as well and Pulu fits that.

The announcement comes after news that winger Henry Speight is heading to Ulster on a short-term deal through the Australian summer.

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