Neemia Tialata has earned a reputation as a strong, skilled front-rower.
Formerly a loosehead prop, Tialata now concerntrates his efforts on the tighthead side of the scrum but retains the valuable ability to cover both sides.
An imposing figure at nearly 130kg, Tialata is a strong defender and a bustling runner in the tight exchanges, although his first Test try, scored against the Springboks at Pretoria in 2006, was a winger's special, chasing down a cross-field kick for a touchdown in the corner.
Tialata thrust himself into the All Blacks selection frame with his strong play for Wellington throughout the 2005 Air New Zealand NPC and made his Test debut in the first match of the All Blacks UK & Ireland Tour against Wales in November.
In his downtime from rugby he is a keen guitar player and an artist with a flair for painting.
Tialata would continue to rise during 2007, playing in four World Cup matches. As Carl Hayman departed the scene at the conclusion of that year, Tialata would build his reputation as a tighthead, becoming a constant selection in All Blacks side.
In 2008 and 2009 Tialata would be a fearsome presence in the Hurricanes scrum, and would continue to build his reputation despite the emergence of the Franks brothers from Canterbury as All Blacks front rowers. His performance against a strong French scrum, matched against noted Les Bleus scrummager Fabien Barcella cemented his role as a senior All Blacks prop.
2005 v Wales at Cardiff
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2003 v Otago
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2004 v Chiefs
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• Scored a try in Wellington’s victory over Waikato in the 2004 Air New Zealand NPC Division One semifinal, one of three he has scored for Wellington.
• Was never selected for a national age-grade team but represented Wellington in Under 16, Schools and Under 21 sides.
• Wellington born and bred, he attended the same high school, Parkway College, as All Blacks captain Tana Umaga.
• Was part of the 2003 Hurricanes Development squad that won New Zealand’s Rebel Sport Super 12 Development competition.