Kerry Cooper Vuna
- 860Wallaby Number
Born in New Zealand to a father who played rugby union for Tonga, Cooper Vuna proved that “nationality is a fluid concept in the modern world.”
Vuna, a strong running three-quarter, was raised on rugby in Auckland before he was spotted by the NRL’s New Zealand Warriors. Vuna only managed five first grade games over three years (2004-06) with the Warriors before he moved to the Newcastle Knights in 2007. In three-and-a-half seasons with the Knights Vuna played 54 first grade matches and scored 35 tries. He was selected in New Zealand’s preliminary squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup but instead played for Tonga.
In 2010, Vuna signed a deal to return to the 15-man code with the Melbourne Rebels for their debut Super Rugby season. Eighteen months later Vuna was named in the Wallaby squad for the home series against Wales. In the lead-up to the 1st Test Vuna’s ACT rival Joe Tomane suffered a syndesmosis injury in his left ankle at training. That forced a late change to the starting XV and Vuna was handed the No. 14 jersey, a position he held for the following week’s 2nd Test in Melbourne.
In 2013, Vuna left the Rebels to join Japanese Top League club Toshiba Brave Lupus. In 2016, Vuna was named vice-captain of Tonga’s team for the Olympic Games qualifying tournament in rugby Sevens. Later that year Vuna made his rugby union debut for Tonga in the win over Italy in Padua.
Vuna won his first Test cap when selected on the right wing in the 1st Test, 27-19 victory over Wales at Suncorp. He won his second and final Test cap the following week in the 2nd Test of the Welsh series.