Up and Comer Sione Halalilo Signs with the Lions through 2023
Another Wellington Rugby Academy graduate has committed his immediate future to the Wellington Lions – 20-year-old Oriental-Rongotai loose forward Sione Halalilo, signing on for two seasons.
Halalilo, shifted to Wellington in 2016 to take up a scholarship at Scots College and has represented Wellington at U16 and U19 level as well as with the Hurricanes at U18 and U20s.
Born and raised in Fu’amotu, Tongatapu, he was selected in the First XV of Tonga College in year nine, before shifting to Scots in year 10. Leaving school at the end of 2020, he linked up with Oriental-Rongotai and immediately made an impact as a hard running ball carrier at both six and eight.
Wellington Lions Head Coach, Leo Crowley, was delighted to give Halalilo the opportunity to join the 2022 Lions squad.
“Sione is a player we have watched for a while. He’s a tough and abrasive player who worked really hard through the academy so it’s a great thrill to be able to offer him a 2-year contract. He’s a fantastic addition to our group.”
“He’s a quality guy - humble, with an excellent work ethic. I think we will see big things from him as the season progresses,” said Crowley.
Wellington Rugby Academy Manager, Rick Whatarau, said he was happy to see Halalilo’s hard work pay off.
“We are really happy with his progress. Credit to Sione as he has been away from his family in Tonga for a few years due to the pandemic, but he has knuckled down to focus on what he can control. He’s had wonderful support from the Solo family and the Ories [Oriental Rongotai club] during this time as well.”
For Halalilo, getting the call up for the Wellington Lions was a welcome opportunity.
“I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity and I appreciate the support I have been given on and off the field. I hope I can make my family and those who have supported me proud when I get the opportunity to play,” said Halalilo.