Sam Tuitupou – From All Black to Agent
Sam’s career has taken him on quite a journey, not just from New Zealand to Europe, but in his playing career too.
In conversation, we asked him to chart how he got to where he is today, running Rugby’s newest player management family.
What is so attractive about UK rugby to players from the Pacific Islands?
For Pacific Island players, the UK is the land of opportunities – to get a better quality of life for themselves – to get paid for something that they love doing whilst they can. A career in rugby isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things
What do you miss about playing top flight rugby?
You realise how lucky we were as rugby players with the quality of care we get given
Tell us about your current club, who do you play for, why and what do you get out of it?
Bowdon RFC in Cheshire. It’s an opportunity to be part of a local team and club as well as the social aspects – when your career is rugby, you get used to your social life revolving around the sport and its people.
At what stage in your career did you start thinking about a career beyond playing?
Quite early to be honest, there were a few Pacific Island boys who had just retired as I was coming through and that were financially struggling and it was a bit of a wake up call that I needed to have an idea in mind. I also had a lot of help from Bruce Sharrock who helped me early on to think about property & assets – that was sound advice
What happened that made you think about becoming an agent?
Throughout my career I had come across both good & bad agents and after working with the PRPW (Pacific Rugby Player’s Welfare) it was apparent that Pacific Islanders were in desperate need for help but from someone with a PI back ground that could relate to island cultures
What do you do differently from the agents you had worked with before?
I wouldn’t say it’s completely different as they all do similar sort of things, but it’s how to do it better. We have designed ProFifteen around building more of a personal relationship, not just including the player but their families as well. Being a mentor, having obviously come from a rugby background – understanding how they are feeling both on and off the field and guiding them on both.
Looking back, had you always wanted to play in the UK?
No but with hindsight now I wish I’d come overseas straight after school
When you were planning the move, what did you think would be the hardest bit?
Leaving family behind to go to live on the other side of the world.
An what was actually the hardest bit?
Obviously leaving my family but also the rugby culture I’d grown up with – and of course the weather!!!
What do you miss most about New Zealand?
Where do I start haha… sun, beaches, family and food