His rugby journey has taken him from New Zealand to France via Samoa representative honours
Who is Uini Atonio: Ten things you should know about the France prop
Giant prop Uini Atonio is known for his power in the scrum, in the tackle and in the carry.
Ten things you should know about Uini Atonio
1. Uini Atonio was born on 26 March 1990 in Timaru, New Zealand. He stands at 6ft 5.5in (1.97m) and weighs 23st 13lb (152kg).
2. He joined French club La Rochelle in 2011. Before that, he played for Counties Manukau.
3. Atonio played for Samoa U20 but chose France for his senior rugby. He won his first cap in 2014 against Fiji and he told Rugby World what it meant to him: “I came here as a young buck and it wasn’t really my dream to make the French team, but they gave me the opportunity I didn’t get in New Zealand, so it means quite a bit.”
4. He qualifies to play for France through residency.
5. Atonio is reportedly the heaviest-ever northern hemisphere Test player and second heaviest in the world, behind former Fiji prop Bill Cavubati who was 165kg.
6. Atonio has spoken about how powerful the French pack are, saying: “It’s pretty hard to stop a team like us when we get on the front foot and start going forward.”
7. He had a passion for acting growing up and can quote Shakespeare.
8. Atonio said out of all of his team-mates he would want to be Arthur Retiere, telling Rugby World: “The little one (the La Rochelle scrum-half who is 5ft 7in and 11st 7lb). Just the way he steps and his speed. Every time he steps, people fall over; it’s like they do it on purpose.”
9. Atonio has a son called Gabriel.
10. He’s claustrophobic.
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