You are here
Home > Club Rugby > Sieni Uluulu a strong force behind Petone Ponies this season

Sieni Uluulu a strong force behind Petone Ponies this season

Sieni Uluulu crosses for Petone against Wainuiomata in their recent match at William Jones Park. 

  • By Adam Julian.
  • Photos by Andy McArthur.

The Petone women are on a roll. Unblemished in 2024 the Ponies have won 16 of their last 19 matches since the start of 2023 – twice capturing Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy first-round honours.

Sieni Uluulu (nee Mose) wasn’t part of the 2023 side that finished runners-up to Marist St Pat’s in the Tia Passi Memorial Cup.

The bustling, goal-kicking No.8 has unquestionably added another dimension to the village in 2024.

Uluulu has scored 46 points in seven appearances, including two tries and two conversions in a decisive 29-5 first-round deciding victory against Wainuiomata at William Jones Park on May 5.

Try time against Paremata-Plimmerton earlier this season.

“Footwork and identifying space are the strengths of my game,” Uluulu said.

“I started goal kicking at Wainuiomata High School when our coach said the team needed a goal kicker. I don’t model my approach on anyone, but I admire Dan Carter, the Goat.

“Being back with the team and learning to play in my new role as a loose forward has been amazing. Honestly, big ups to our coaches and our game drivers for always keeping us in check with our goal this season and turning up for each other day in and out to trainings, and games.”

Uluulu debuted for Petone in 2014. With a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son she took 2023 off but upon return has remained highly effective with her trademark work ethic and prodigious scoring.

Uluulu was born in Samoa and moved to New Zealand at the end of 2006 with her Mum and Dad, Tofa and Mose. She was an only child but was far from spoiled thriving in team sports.

“I didn’t have much growing up, but I was grateful for whatever I got. Before moving here mum was a babysitter and dad was working at a cake store,” Uluulu reflected.

“Growing up in the islands was great. I was always with cousins going to school or coming home to do feau which is chores in Samoan.

“We’d play rugby with a stick or jandal as a ball or Lape, a game like softball where you use your hand to hit the ball instead of a bat.

“I started playing rugby in New Zealand at primary school. I was quite fast at athletics, so the rugby coach asked me to play rugby for the school as a winger. I was the only girl playing and had no idea how to play but once I got the ball it was history. I guess watching rugby with the family in Samoa played a part in that. Honestly, I don’t think I’m good, I just really enjoy playing rugby.”

That statement was self-evident and self-effacing when Uluulu burst into the Petone team as an outside back while still at college. In an 89-0 whitewash of Tawa that season she kicked 11 conversions.

By 2017 she was an established senior player with a standout display of 16 points in a 31-24 victory over eventual Tia Passi Memorial Cup finalists Old Boys University.

Uluulu was rampant by 2018 with personal hauls of 31 points against Avalon and 28 against Marist St Pats. The Wellington selectors were paying attention. She played five matches for the Pride who won the Farah Palmer Cup Championship, establishing records for most points, tries, and biggest win in a season.

A Manu Sina debut would follow for Uluulu in November of 2018. Twenty-three debutantes were selected to contest the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship in Fiji, Samoa’s first internationals since the 2014 Rugby World Cup.

Fiji took the spoils at home in the Oceania tourney, but the following year Manusina returned serve by winning the Asia Pacific Cup against the same opponent. Uluulu played alongside fellow Ponie Mary-Lee Sa’u.

“I’ve played around 10 games for Manusina and each one is special. Playing for my homeland alongside some amazing ladies is one of the coolest things I’ve done.”

“Playing for Petone since 2018 has helped me establish goals and stay consistent as a family.

“Being in the forwards has required some adjustment, but we’ve got a strong forward pack, who’ve been really supportive. I’m so excited about what’s to come.”

Petone after winning the first round Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy three weeks ago. 

Petone is seeking to win their first Tia Passi Memorial Cup since 1993. That season Black Ferns midfield back Flo Broughton served as player/coach. Petone won 13 out of 14 games and scored 505 points while only conceding 134.

Remarkably just seven hours after giving birth to her second daughter Santana, Broughton was sideline to watch her team beat Wests 93-0. Petone’s other Black Ferns include the likes of Rugby World Cup winners Rochelle Martin, Beth Mallard, and Toni Konui, as well as Flo Tamihana and Hurricanes Poua captain Jackie Patea-Fereti

*Uluulu has represented Wellington and Samoa in rugby league too.

Huddy Sports caught up with Petone’s Jackie Patea-Fereti this week:

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply