Lote Tuqiri in action for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014.
Lote Tuqiri in action for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014. ROBB COX

Tuqiri confirmed for comeback in Brisbane Tens

RUGBY UNION: Cross-code legend Lote Tuqiri will make a comeback for the Waratahs at the Brisbane Tens, alongside current code-hopping superstar Israel Folau.

Fan favourite Tuqiri - who chalked up six State of Origin appearances for Queensland, nine Test matches for the Kangaroos and 67 Test appearances for the Wallabies - joins the Waratahs under the tournament's wildcard provision.

The 37-year-old's last season of elite sport was with the NRL's Rabbitohs in 2014.

"Lote brings loads of experience to the playing group and it will be a good chance for our younger guys to play with someone who has played rugby at all levels," Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.

Tuqiri played 89 times for Waratahs between 2003 and 2009, scoring 29 tries.

"As a competitor I'm looking forward to the challenge, but I must admit I'm a little nervous," Tuqiri said.

"I've been working pretty hard and feeling good, I wouldn't have agreed to this if I wasn't prepared and I'm definitely feeling prepared.

"It will be interesting playing back at Suncorp, I'm not exactly sure what to expect but I know it will be a big atmosphere.

As well as Tuqiri and Folau, the Waratahs squad also includes three players from Australia's Olympic sevens squad - Cam Clark, Pat McCutcheon and Con Foley - and former NRL speedster Reece Robinson.

"We have some great young players all eager to make their mark during the trial games, including the Global Tens, with just weeks until the first round of Super Rugby," Gibson said.

"Having the opportunity for them to learn from a playmaker like Lote will provide an added boost for the boys and a different type of preparation."

Tuqiri's primary focus would be helping the younger players relax and enjoy the tournament.

"I know just how much pressure the boys will be under at this time of year," Tuqiri said.

"It's not just the training hours on the paddock but also the extensive gym work, trying to prove what you can do and ensuring you have the best preparation.

"Hopefully I can bring to the team a more relaxed playing style to help the guys enjoy the experience of the Global Tens," he said.

The February 11-12 Tens tournament features all 10 Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby teams along with Toulon (France), the Bulls (South Africa), Panasonic Wild Knights (Japan) and a Samoan national team.

The Waratahs open their Super Rugby campaign against the Force in Sydney on February 25.

"It's important for our code to have showpiece events such as the Global Tens and we are really looking forward to taking part," Gibson said.

"Considering the limited preparation time we have before the season kicks off in February, the Global Tens will form an important part of the squad's planning for the season ahead.

"This format is a closer to traditional 15s rugby with scrums and lineouts so will give the guys looking to make a mark ahead of the season the opportunity to step up and press their claim before the first round."


News Corp Australia

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