Va'aiga Tuigamala

Va'aiga Tuigamala

Infobox Rugby biography
name = Va'aiga Tuigamala MNZM

caption =
birthname = Va'aiga Lealuga Tuigamala
nickname = Inga
birthyear = 1969
birthmonth = 9
birthday = 4
placeofbirth = Faleasiu, Samoa
dateofdeath =
placeofdeath =
height = 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
weight = 14 st 11 lb (94 kg)
ru_position = Centre/Wing
allblackid = 900
allblackno = 900
ru_amateuryears =
ru_amateurclubs = flagicon|NZPonsonby
ru_amupdate =
ru_nationalteam = flagicon|SAM Samoa flagicon|NZNew Zealand
ru_nationalyears = 1996-2000 1989-1993
ru_nationalcaps = 23 19
ru_nationalpoints = (17) (21)
ru_ntupdate =
ru_clubyears =
ru_proclubs = flagicon|ENGNewcastle flagicon|ENGLondon Wasps
ru_clubcaps =
ru_clubpoints =
ru_clubupdate =
super14 =
super14years =
super14caps =
super14points =
ru_currentclub =
super14update =
ru_province = flagicon|NZAuckland
ru_provinceyears = 1989-1993
ru_provincecaps =
ru_provincepoints =
ru_provinceupdate =
ru_sevensnationalyears =
ru_sevensnationalteam =
ru_sevensnationalcomp =
ru_sevensupdate =
ru_coachclubs =
ru_coachyears =
ru_coachupdate =
sooyears =
sooteam =
soocaps =
soopoints =
sooupdate =
rl_position = Centre/Wing
rl_clubupdate =
rl_nationalteam = Samoa
rl_nationalyears = 1995
rl_nationalcaps =
rl_nationalpoints =
rl_ntupdate =
rl_amateuryears =
rl_amateurclubs =
rl_amupdate =
rl_clubyears = 1993-1996
rl_proclubs = Wigan
rl_clubcaps = 98
rl_clubpoints = (244)
rl_clubupdate =
rl_coachupdate =
rl_coachclubs =
rl_coachyears =
rl_coachupdate =
occupation = Runs "Tuigamala and Sons of Glendene"
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives = David Tua
other = yes
university =

Va'aiga Lealuga Tuigamala MNZM (born September 4, 1969, Faleasiu, Samoa) is a Samoan rugby footballer. As well as playing for the All Blacks, he represented Samoa in both rugby union and rugby league, playing at centre and wing, .

He represented New Zealand in rugby union as a winger from 1989, playing his first test match against the USA in 1991, and becoming widely known as Inga the Winger before switching to rugby league with Wigan in 1993. As an All Black, he was known as a powerful runner, physically much larger than most typical wings, and played in 19 tests (scoring 5 tries) and 20 non-international matches (scoring 9 tries).

At Wigan, playing as a centre he became an integral part of a very successful Wigan team. He also played international rugby league for Samoa, including at the 1995 World Cup.

When rugby union became professional in 1996, he was one of a number of former rugby union players who returned from league - he played for London Wasps and later Newcastle Falcons in England in a world record £1m deal. Inga scored a hat-trick on his third appearance against Moseley at Kingston Park and was an integral part of the 1998 Championship-winning side, followed by the new Geordie hero delaying an arm operation to put in a Man of the Match performance in the 2001 Cup Final. Upon signing for the Falcons, team-mate Doddie Weir called Tuigamala "simply the best rugby player in the world".

He made his debut for Western Samoa in 1996 against Ireland, going on to play 14 test matches, scoring 2 tries. He was an important part of the Samoa squad at the 1999 World Cup.

He has been known for his Christian faith, and in particular for the influence he had with future England rugby union captain Jason Robinson, a team-mate at Wigan. His contentment in life with God was something deeply moving for Robinson, and over their months of friendship, Tuigamala shared his Christian faith, though it wasn't until some time later that Robinson became a Christian.

Since the end of his rugby career, he has acted as advisor for his cousin David Tua, a professional heavyweight boxer, and currently runs a funeral director company, "Tuigamala and Sons of Glendene" for which the most notable client to date was the late King of Tonga, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV [,2106,3793269a12,00.html] .

His biography "Inga the Winger" by Bob Howitt was published in 1993.

In 2008, Tuigamala was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby and the community in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. [Cite web|url=|title=The Queen's Birthday Honours 2008|date=2008-06-02|publisher=Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet]


External links

*All Blacks|900
* [ Wasps profile]

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