Lukhan puts family first, changes last name

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Lukhan Tui has legally changed his name to Lukhan Salakaia-Loto to honour his late stepfather.

Salakaia-Loto has not played for the Wallabies since the loss to Argentina in September, where the backrower played despite the sudden passing of his stepfather James.

The 22-year-old subsequently decided to withdraw from Wallabies duty for the rest of the year to care for his mother and siblings. 

In a further tribute, Salakaia-Loto informed the QRU on Tuesday that he had legally changed his surname.

It's understood that Salakaia is his late stepfather's last name and therefore his mother and siblings' name, and Loto is part of his birth father's last name.

The redsrugby.com.au and RUGBY.com.au websites have since been updated to reflect Salakaia-Loto's wishes.

In October, Salakaia-Loto posted an emotional message on social media to explain why he was prioritising his family's welfare and withdrawing from Spring Tour consideration.

"I’ve always been & forever will be #FamilyOverEveything, hence the choices I’ve made," Salakaia-Loto wrote.

“Stepping away from the game of rugby for the remainder of the year is a decision that is for my siblings and for my Mum. Rugby will always be there & at the end of the day it is only just a game.

“Because there’s honestly no atmosphere, experience, money or jersey that could ever separate me from doing what I love and that’s looking after my family.

“This is also to show my younger siblings that Family is truely (sic) above everything and setting an example for them to follow.

“This isn’t about putting myself last, it’s about putting them first which has always been the case. 1 month ago my family and I lost our Dad. He raised my siblings & I to be the people we are today and set the perfect example that we live by.

“He made my dream of playing rugby come true and taught me how to be a man and further to that a family man.

“This is something I’m humbled by and will forever be grateful for.

“I have a young family and I’m now the man of out home, I have self-expectations and a role to play that not many people can relate to or ever understand.

“My purpose in life has always been to make my family proud and to ensure that they are safe.

“Rugby is only a game and my family is everything to me.

“In saying that, I’ll be back next year to continue playing ruby for my Dad, Qld and hopefully for Australia again.

“Until then I will be contributing to helping finish what my dad started.

"I LOVE YOU DAD”.