Representative Honours: Australia A 2006, Australian Wallabies 2006-
Senior Tours: UK, Ireland & Italy 2006, RWC (France) 2007, Hong Kong & Europe 2008, Japan & Europe 2009, RWC (New Zealand) 2011, Europe 2012
NSW Waratahs enforcer WYCLIFF PALU played in all three Test matches of the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour in the starting No.8 position before scans at the end of the third and deciding Test revealed torn cartilage in his troublesome right knee, sidelining him for the remainder of the year.
After another season cursed by injury, the back rower has reaffirmed his importance to the Qantas Wallabies’ cause in 2014, establishing himself as a key enforcer in the NSW Waratahs physical forward pack.
The damaging ball carrier, who provides a talismanic influence in the Australian pack, returned from a shoulder nerve injury in the third Bledisloe Test in 2012, getting through 42 minutes where, in his first Test against the All Blacks for three years, he showed how much he had missed them with a powerful performance.
It was Palu’s second ‘comeback’ for the year after he featured in all three wins against the Six Nations Champions Wales last June.
The hat-trick of appearances represented more Wallaby games than the 30-year-old had managed in the previous two years due to a wretched run with injury.
He was sidelined by a knee complaint in 2010 and shoulder and hamstring problems a year later which denied him all but two appearances at what was his second Rugby World Cup.
The injury curse curtailed a run which had seen the damaging ball carrier appear in 19 of the 28 available Tests through 2008 and 2009.
This sequence included a remarkable comeback on the 2009 Spring Tour when Palu was stretchered from the field when Australia played Scotland at Murrayfield, only to return as one of the best on field when the Wallabies destroyed Wales at the Millennium Stadium a week later. Palu’s early but dramatic departure proved precautionary after he tweaked a nerve in his neck.
Of Tongan heritage, Palu made his state debut for NSW in 2003, and was introduced to Super Rugby by the Waratahs the year before his maiden Test, which came in 2006.
Prior to the knee injury in 2010, which was sustained playing the Crusaders in Christchurch, Palu had been one of the Waratahs’ iron men – missing just five matches over the three seasons between 2007 and 2010.