Pauli Tuala: The best player you’ve never heard of

By Sam Ryan He’s the NRC poster boy most of you have never heard of. Plucked from playing park rugby in the Illawarra last year to join the NSW Country Eagles, Pauli Tuala represents everything that is right about Australia’s third tier competition. At 29, the former NSW Country Cockatoo was given his first opportunity to play professional rugby in last year’s NRC and he didn’t disappoint, helping the Eagles earn a semi final berth in their inaugural season. “Pauli was brilliant last year. We knew he had plenty of talent but it was hard to gauge how that would hold up in a new environment,” Eagles coach Darren Coleman told Rugby News. “From the first day he joined the program he really embraced it and did his best to learn from the guys around him and he ended up being one of our most consistent performers last season,” the coach added. Tuala admitted the NRC wasn’t on his radar when news of the new competition leaked early last year and said he was planning on
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