|Weight||91kg (14st 4lb)|
Breaking a sequence of nine consecutive starts for England had an upside for Riki Flutey because he missed the matches against Argentina in June 2009 only because of his selection for the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa.
He made his debut in the third game against the Springboks when becoming the first New Zealander to figure in a Lions’ Test team for 101 years since Pat McEvedy in 1908.
Two shoulder injuries subsequently ruled him out of the Investec Internationals and limited his appearances to five for CA Brive, the club he left to rejoin London Wasps on a three-year contract starting in 2010-11.
A calf muscle injury sustained in the 37-10 defeat by Northampton Saints last October made him unavailable for the autumn Tests for the second successive year. When starting against Wales at Twickenham in August 2011, he wore the Red Rose jersey for the first time in 17 months.
Riki played his first match for England against the Pacific Islanders in November 2008, two months after qualifying on residency and his four tries in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship meant he was the joint leading scorer in the tournament with Brian O’Driscoll.
He had already created an indelible impression for London Irish and then London Wasps in 2007-08. In two seasons with the Irish, he scored 272 points, including 15 tries, in 36 appearances and had made 79 Premiership appearances and amassed 228 points overall before the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
Riki, who was educated at Te Aute College, a Maori boarding school in Hawke’s Bay, arrived in 2005 from New Zealand where he won 58 caps for Wellington Lions in six years and figured 38 times for Wellington Hurricanes in Super 12. He began as a scrum half and played through most New Zealand age grades in that role, helping the U19 side to become the 1999 IRB World Champions.
Then he switched to fly half when representing the under 21s before playing for New Zealand Maori. He had led the Haka for every All Blacks’ age group team.
In the past eight years, he has oscillated between the No 12, 10 and 15 roles but all his England caps and his one for the Lions were at centre in his season to remember that culminated in a move from Wasps to Brive for 2009-10. He had been part of Wasps’ Guinness Premiership winning side three years ago.
During his time at Adams Park, he became the 2008 PRA Computacenter Players’ Player of the Year, a supreme accolade from his fellow professionals. Mano, his elder brother, also figured at every New Zealand age grade level.
20 points – 4T
England: 2008 PI, A, SA, NZ 2009 It, W, I, F, S 2010 It, I, S, F 2011 W
Lions: 2009 SA(3)
Last updated: August 08, 2011