Brodie Retallick Rugby World Cup: Ben Tameifuna savours Hamilton return for All Blacks v Tonga

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Brodie Retallick Ben Tameifuna performing the Sipi Tau before Tonga's test against Fiji last Saturday.

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Ben Tameifuna performing the Sipi Tau before Tonga’s test against Fiji last Saturday.

Big Ben Tameifuna warmly laughed off the notion of being test rugby’s heaviest player as he savoured his return to Hamilton for Tonga’s test with the All Blacks in their final weeks of preparation for the Rugby World Cup. 

The former Chiefs prop’s career has come full circle since leaving for France to join glamour Paris club Racing 92 in 2015, with the 28-year-old set to play his 12th test for Tonga on Saturday on his old home turf against an All Blacks team he said he “was pretty close” to representing.

At 140kg, the Auckland-born tighthead was then the heaviest member of the All Blacks squad when called up in 2012. However, he would never play a test for the country of his birth, so he sized up whether to play for France until Tonga came calling in 2017.

Before Tonga’s test in Wales last November, Tameifuna tipped the scales at 153kg and he blamed the weight gain on eating too many French delicacies – namely croissants and baguettes. That figure meant Tameifuna was considered the heaviest man in test rugby – then 2kg more than giant Timaru-born France prop Uini Atonio. 

READ MORE:
* Hansen hits back at ‘cheats’ tag
* Tonga ‘fixated’ on Cup play-offs 
* Tonga fall to defeat against Fiji
* RWC match schedule and pools 
* How to watch Rugby World Cup

Speaking at Tonga’s team hotel in Te Rapa, Tameifuna grinned and sa

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