The back-five forward has built a burgeoning reputation with the Chiefs in Super Rugby

Tupou Vaa’i is a lock/flanker with a burgeoning in reputation in New Zealand.

After some commendable performances for the Chiefs in Super Rugby Pacific and the All Blacks in his short international career so far, his stock is only on the rise.

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Ten things you need to know about All Blacks forward Tupou Vaa’i

1. Tupou Paea’i Okalani Vaa’i  was born on 27 January 2000 in Auckland, New Zealand.

2. Vaa’i was the Head Prefect at his school, Wesley College, and captained the rugby side in his final year there.

3. The youngster made his debut as an 18-year-old for Taranaki back in 2018, coming off the bench against Auckland.

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4. He played for the New Zealand U20s in the 2019 Junior World Cup, the last one before Covid hit.

5. Vaa’i got his breakthrough at Super Rugby level when he was drafted into the Chiefs set-up in 2020 amid several second-row injuries.

6. He weights 18st 6lbs (118kg) and stands at 6ft 6in (198cm).

7. Vaa’i was named in Ian Foster’s first ever All Blacks squad in 2020 and made his full senior international debut on 11 October 2020 against Australia. The game finished 16-16 and Vaa’i came off the bench to replace Patrick Tuipulotu with five minutes remaining.

8. He became the first player born in the 21st century to represent the All Blacks

9. Vaa’i secured a spot in Foster’s final 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France

10. Vaa’i started at blindside flanker against France in the Rugby World Cup 2023 opener after Sam Cane’s late withdrawal. He had initially been named among the replacements.

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