593 Piri Awahou Tihou Weepu

Height 178
Weight 92
Birthplace Lower Hutt
Previous Clubs Returning NZ'er , Wainuiomata RFC

Previous clubs:

  • London Welsh
  • Wasps
  • Oyonnax
  • Narbonne
  • Wellington
  • Auckland
  • Hurricanes
  • Blues
  • 2004–13 New Zealand

http://stats.allblacks.com/asp/profile.asp?ABID=1051

Piri Weepu  #1049

Piri Weepu was a multi-talented rugby player with the ability to play halfback or first-five eighth and although not a first-choice goal kicker, he was a more-than-able replacement, stepping in when required. Weepu possessed a calm manner in pressure matches and was highly rated by All Blacks coaches for his leadership talents.

At the time of Weepu’s retirement he had achieved 71 test caps, placing him second behind Justin Marshall, who finished with 80, as the All Blacks’ most capped halfback. Weepu though actually played only three of his tests for the full 80 minutes, as modern rugby allows replacements and the halfback position is most often shared.

Weepu became an All Black in 2004, being introduced for that season’s end-of-year tour, aged only 21 and with just two provincial seasons for Wellington and one for the Hurricanes behind him. Clearly there had always been respect and appreciation for his considerable rugby ability but that had sometimes been accompanied by lingering reservations.

Through his career there had been considerable competition for the halfback spot and Weepu had been up against Marshall, and, as he neared the end of his career, Byron Kelleher, Jimmy Cowan, Andy Ellis, Brendon Leonard and even his understudy at both the Hurricanes and then the Blues, Alby Mathewson. In 2007, despite having been in the squad for the early season internationals, Weepu was overlooked for the World Cup for Kelleher, Leonard and Ellis.

As well as his quality opposition, Weepu has had to overcome criticisms that he hasn’t always been in optimum physical condition. With a stocky build and prone to put on weight, Weepu certainly was not in the best shape when after 84 Super games with the Hurricanes he moved to the Blues for the 2012 Super 15.

Weepu has achieved much, both provincially and at Super levels and internationally for the All Blacks. The highlight of his more than 50 games for Wellington came in 2008 when he captained the union to a comfortable Ranfurly Shield win over Auckland. He also joined the ranks of All Blacks captains when he led the side in the midweek tour match against Munster in 2008.

And he enjoyed a particularly memorable 2011 World Cup, when after a lengthy period as Cowan’s second string he eventually became the number one choice during the tournament. With seven penalty goals in the quarter-final against Argentina and four in the semi-final against Australia he offered a reminder of one of his strengths which the All Blacks have used only sparingly. He had frequently shown himself to be a superb goal-kicker, but with Dan Carter in many of the same All Blacks sides it was a role in which he was seldom needed.

Weepu had also shown for Wellington and the Hurricanes, when those sides had the services of Mathewson, he was able to play with considerable competence at first five-eighths.

Weepu proved to be one of the All Blacks’ best players at the World Cup, especially in the semi-final win over the Wallabies, and it was probably in recognition of his invaluable contribution that new coach Steve Hansen felt a sense of loyalty and retained him in the All Blacks squad for the 2012 season. But again he was confined to a role on the bench because of the emergence of Aaron Smith.

With Smith having cemented his place as the All Blacks number one halfback in 2013 and the development of Tawera Kerr-Barlow and TJ Perenara, Weepu’s days as an All Black were numbered. He made his final All Blacks appearance with a rare start against France in New Plymouth.

In March 2014 Weepu’s career came to a screeching halt. A previously undiagnosed heart condition caused him to have a stroke. With typical Weepu resilience and good humor he overcame heart surgery to play again later that Super Rugby season.

At the conclusion of the 2014 Super Rugby season Weepu announced that he had signed for English Premiership side London Welsh.

2017 season

9 1
Played
1
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

All seasons

9 1
Played
1
Tries
0
Conversions
0
Penalties
0
Drop Goals

2017 season

Sat 12 Aug 2:30 pm A Jeremy David Memorial Cup Poverty Bay 31 - 06
Fri 18 Aug 7:00 pm H Pre-Season Manawatu Development 17 - 33
Sat 26 Aug 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship Whanganui 79 - 07
Sat 02 Sep 2:30 pm H Heartland Championship Ngāti Porou East Coast 36 - 10
Sat 09 Sep 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship King Country 32 - 25
Sat 16 Sep 2:30 pm H Heartland Championship Mid Canterbury 24 - 60
Sat 23 Sep 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship Buller 29 - 24
Sun 01 Oct 12:10 pm N Heartland Championship Horowhenua-Kapiti 12 - 38
Sat 07 Oct 2:30 pm A Heartland Championship South Canterbury 29 - 20