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Pita Faiva-ki-moana Alatini (born April 11, 1976 in Nuku alofamarker) is a Tonganmarker-born New Zealandmarker rugby union footballer. Alatini is a midfield back who played in 17 tests for the All Blacks between 1999 and 2001, scoring 6 test tries.

Alatini played 81 NPC matches for four different provinces (Counties-Manukau, Southland, Otago, and Wellington), and 72 Super 12 matches for four different franchises (Crusaders, Chiefs, Highlanders, and Hurricanes).He has also played professionally in Japan for Suntory Sungoliath and Kamaishi Seawaves.

Alatini is married to pop singer and actress Megan Alatini. His brothers Tevita, Anthony and Sam Alatini have played for the Tonga national rugby union team.

Career overview

Alatini moved to Aucklandmarker from Tonga as a child. He attended King's Collegemarker, and played for the national secondary school side in 1993-94 and the national under-19 team in 1995. He played 30 matches for the Counties-Manukau NPC team in 1995-96, and five matches for the Crusaders in the Super 12 in 1996. He represented the New Zealand Colts and played three Super 12 matches for the Chiefs in 1997.

In 1997-98, Alatini played for Southland in the NPC, and began to specialise as a midfielder (up until then, he had often played as a fullback). Alatini played for the Highlanders in the Super 12 from 1998 to 2001, and it was during this time that he became a regular selection for the All Blacks.

In 2002 and 2003, Alatini played for the Hurricanes in the Super 12 and Wellington in the NPC. By this time, he had fallen out of favor with the All Black selectors, and in 2004 he moved to Japan to play for Suntory Sungoliath. In 2006, he left Suntory to play for Kamaishi Seawaves.

All Black career

Alatini made his debut for the All Blacks on June 11, 1999, in a 22-11 victory over New Zealand A at Jade Stadiummarker. He played his first test on June 26, 1999, in a 54-7 victory over France at Athletic Parkmarker. He was selected for the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad, playing in a pool match against Italy which the All Blacks won 101-3, and coming on as a replacement for Tana Umaga in the third-place playoff against South Africa, which South Africa won 22-18.

Alatini was the All Blacks' first choice second five-eighth during the 2000 Tri Nations, and was selected for the All Blacks' end-of-year tour to France and Italy. He was dropped from the starting line-up for the tests against France, with the selectors preferring Daryl Gibson at second five-eighth due to his more physical defense. He played as an unused reserve in the second test against France, and started the test against Italy. He regained his place as the All Blacks' first choice second five-eighth for the 2001 domestic tests and Tri Nations. Alatini played his last test for the All Blacks on September 1, 2001, in a 29-26 loss to Australia at Stadium Australiamarker.

After the 2001 Tri Nations, the All Blacks coaches Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert were replaced by John Mitchell and Robbie Deans. Alatini was selected for the All Blacks for the last time on the 2001 tour of Ireland and Argentina. He was relegated to the mid-week team, with the new coaches preferring Aaron Mauger at second five-eighth for the test matches due to his superior distribution skills.

Personal life

Pita married Megan Alatini in 2000, they met in 1994. He has 3 children. Two daughters, Tonica, born 13 May 1995 and Tiara born 2002, and 1 son, Trey born 2005

References

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