Sione 'Utukiveisini Tatafu Polota-Nau

  • 38Age
  • 90Caps
  • 805Wallaroo Number
Date Of BirthJuly 26, 1985
Place of BirthSydney
SchoolGranville South High School
Debut ClubParramatta
Other ClubLeicester (ENG)
Other ProvinceWestern Force
Debut Test Match2005 vs. England, London
Final Test Match2019 vs. Samoa, Parramatta
Rugby World Cups2011 & 2015

A powerful scrummaging hooker, Tatafu Polota-Nau proved to be a player of remarkable endurance despite a near-selfless tackling style, one that left him with multiple arm and head-related injuries.

Raised in Sydney’s west, Polota-Nau brought a proud and strong Tongan heritage to his football although he was a latecomer to rugby, only taking to the game after he watched his older sister Moala play. Nonetheless his potential became quickly apparent, so much so that he co-captained the Australian Schools side within two years of his first ever match.

A decorated aged representative career soon followed before he was chosen for his first Wallaby tour without having played a single Super Rugby match. From his 2005 debut against England at Twickenham, Polota-Nau missed an incredible 71 Tests over nine seasons before he became the 44th Wallaby to win 50 Test caps. That feat took him eight years, three hundred and five days to achieve and in doing so he equalled the Australian record held by another hooker, former Wallaby captain Phil Kearns.

Over the course of his career Polota-Nau played at two Rugby World Cups and likely would have attended three if he had not lost all of 2007 to a knee injury, surgery and rehabilitation.

In 2018, and under the new ‘Giteau Law’, Polota-Nau returned from a stint at English club Leicester for the Rugby Championship. During the course of that season he became the first Wallaby, and just the third player of all-time after New Zealand’s Keven Mealamu and Ireland’s Sean Cronin, to play 50 Tests as a replacement.

Polota-Nau retired from international rugby in 2019 with 90 caps earned over 15 years, 86 of which were won as hooker - second all-time in Australia behind Stephen Moore for the position - and 14th overall for the Wallabies.


2002 Represented Australian Schools as a blindside flanker against Tonga Schools and New Zealand Schools.

2003 Represented Australian Schools as a blindside flanker against Tonga Schools, Fijian Schools and New Zealand Schools.

2004 Selected in the Australian squad for the IRB U19s World Championship in South Africa.

2005 Selected in the Australian squad for the fourth-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in Argentina. Polota-Nau won the IRB International U21 Player of the Year award. Despite having not yet played a single Super Rugby match he was chosen in the Wallabies’ Spring Tour squad and made his Test debut when he replaced Matt Dunning at loose head prop in the 16-26 loss to England at Twickenham.

2006 Selected in the Australian squad for the fifth-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in France. He won just one Test cap in the year’s final international against Scotland at Murrayfield.

2007 Injury cost him the entire 2007 Test season after he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

2008 A broken hand ruled him out of the first two Tests of the season against Ireland and France. He fought his way back into the squad winning seven Test caps for the year. Polota-Nau earned his first starting XV cap in the 3rd Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

2009 Polota-Nau was selected in the match day squad for all 14 internationals and won a career high thirteen caps over the course of the year.

2010 Polota-Nau won the New South Wales Player’s Player of the Year award despite playing with spurs in his ankle, an injury which ultimately ruled him out of Test calculations arena for all but the final two internationals of the year.

2011 Surgery to his troublesome left knee following a tear to the meniscus saw Polota-Nau miss Australia’s first Tri Nations title for a decade however he did return in time to feature in all but one of the Wallabies’ matches at his first Rugby World Cup.

2012 Polota Nau started at hooker in 12 of the Wallabies’ 15 Tests and reached 10 caps in a season for just the second time in his eight-year career.

2013 He was ruled out for the majority of the Test season due to a broken arm and later suffered multiple hamstring injuries. Polota-Nau returned to win selection in the Spring Tour squad where he earned replacement caps in the wins over Ireland and Wales.

2014 Polota-Nau fell victim to the hookers’ injury curse which engulfed Australian rugby. Capped in each of the three domestic wins against France he suffered a medial ligament injury to his right knee in the Waratahs' triumphant 33-32 Super Rugby championship win over the Crusaders. He rushed back from the injury to start in the 1st Test victory over Argentina on the Gold Coast but ended the evening hobbled on crutches with an ankle problem. Despite a 32-25 win the injury was not the way to celebrate his 50th career Test cap.

2015 Selected in all 12 Test match squads for the year, Polota-Nau won 11 caps and was a crucial member of coach Michael Cheika’s “finishers” during the Wallabies memorable run to the Rugby World Cup final.

2016 He won caps off the bench in each of the year’s first seven Tests before he finally succumbed to a broken right forearm and missed the final eight internationals.

2017 Polota-Nau enjoyed a strong debut Super Rugby season with the Western Force to reclaim the starting hooker role in 10 of his 14 Tests.

2018 He missed the home series against Ireland due to his commitments with English club Leicester however by the end of the season had collected a further seven caps. Polota-Nau started the first four Tests of the Rugby Championship and picked up replacement caps in each of the three Tests on the Spring tour.

2019 Polota-Nau picked up his final Test cap when he came off the bench in the Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Samoa in Sydney.

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