Following in the footsteps of his older brother, barn-storming tight-head prop Nepo Laulala was recently announced as one of the new faces in the Crusaders squad ahead of the 2013 campaign, where he will be used as back-up to All Black Owen Franks, who is expected to be given some time off following an arduous international season.
Born in 1991 in Samoa, Laulala boarded at South Auckland’s Wesley College, and after showing impressive form for their 1st XV was enticed to Christchurch to join the Canterbury Academy.
Playing his club rugby for Sydenham in the Christchurch Metro competition, Laulala is surrounded by fellow representative players, including front-row colleague Codie Taylor, fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal, and break-out sensation Johnny McNicol.
After two seasons in the Canterbury ITM Cup squad Laulala will be given his opportunity at Super level in 2013, and in preparation has enlisted the help of Franks’ Olympic lifting coach, Lee Attril, to help further develop his already explosive power.
Brother of former Crusaders and All Blacks midfielder Casey, who is currently plying his trade at Munster under the tutelage of former Canterbury mentor Rob Penney, Laulala is a huge physical presence on the field, boasting a frame which looks like it was designed for propping, and is a player with enormous potential.