Epi Taione

Epeli Taione
Epi Taione.JPG
Birth nameEpeli Taione
Date of birth (1979-03-02) 2 March 1979 (age 43)
Place of birthVauai'i, Tonga
Height1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight115 kg (18 st 2 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre, Flanker, Number Eight, Wing
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Newcastle Falcons
Sale Sharks
Harlequin F.C.
Racing Métro 92
London Welsh
Correct as of 3 November 2018
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Pacific Islanders
Correct as of 30 December 2011

Epi Taione (born 2 March 1979) is a former Tongan rugby union footballer whose last club was London Welsh. He normally played at centre but could cover the wing or back row.

Rugby career[]

He started his professional career at Newcastle Falcons. In the summer of 2005, he joined Sale Sharks on a two-year contract. However, his contract was cancelled when he was banned for 18 weeks for biting Denis Leamy in a Heineken Cup game against Munster.[1] In the 2005–2006 season, Taione made 5 appearances before his contract was terminated, and Sale Sharks won their first ever Premiership title.[2] After his ban he went to Japan to play for the Sanyo Wild Knights.

Taione controversially changed his name to Paddy Power for the duration of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in a sponsorship deal agreed with the Irish bookmaker.[3] the sponsorship deal financed the Tongan preparation for the World Cup. The Tongans nearly beat the eventual winner, South Africa, and lost narrowly to the other finalist, England.

He then went to play for the Sharks, but in the 2008 Super 14 season he was suspended for six weeks after headbutting a Wellington Hurricanes player,[4] and was also suspended for two weeks in the IRB Pacific 5 Nations after dangerously tackling New Zealand Maori Number Eight, Thomas Waldrom.[5] His next move was to Harlequins, but he received little playing time and so moved on to the French side Racing Métro 92 in 2009. In 2010, he joined London Welsh.

He played for Tonga at the 1999 and 2007 Rugby World Cups. He also played for the Pacific Islanders.

Taione was forced to retire in December 2011 due to a serious knee injury.[6]

In 2009, Taione had a small non-speaking role as a member of the New Zealand Rugby team in the film Invictus.[7][8]

He is a founder member of APBs aka The Brothers, an invitational club that is instrumental in developing the game in the Asia and Pacific regions. He is involved in a few business ventures around the world including clubs and bars in London. He's a board member of the Tongan Rugby Union.


  1. ^ "Taione quits Sale after bite ban". BBC. 2 February 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Zurich Premiership 2005/06 » Sale Sharks » Season appearances". rugby.statbunker.com. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Paddy to Power Tonga to victory?". BBC News. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Sharks end contract with Epi Taione". Dispatch Online. 28 April 2008. Archived from the original on 27 April 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Ex-Falcon Taione's invite to palace". sundaysun.co.uk. 6 July 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Tonga's Taione forced to quit". 23 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Epeli Taione". IMDb.
  8. ^ "Journal".

External links[]