We have been fortunate enough to have Wallabies and Waratahs star Tolu Latu back amongst the team for the past two weeks while on a break from Super Rugby duties. We managed to catch up with the family man and long time Student to find out why he continues to return to Sydney University Football Club after reaching higher honors in his rugby career.

While Tolu has played just about everywhere on the rugby field, he began his junior career as a flyhalf for Canterbury juniors, with fellow Waratah Jake Gordon as fullback, before going on to make history as a hooker.

Growing up in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, Tolu’s uncle signed him up to the Canterbury Juniors from a very young age. “He wanted me to keep out of trouble” Tolu told us.

Since then, Tolu has done what he can for the Club where his love of rugby first flourished, describing how both he and Jake [Gordon] presented the senior Canterbury team with their jerseys last year. Among helping out with multiple training sessions, developing skills-based techniques, designing drills and set pieces, Latu told us that his main interest is to “keep young kids in the game.”

The 24-year-old relished the opportunity to wear the gold jersey last year, but, for the born and bred Canterbury Junior, it is his family that remains his most important support base.

Tolu was a crucial member of 1st Grade’s draw against Manly on the weekend, lighting up the Intrust Super Shute Shield with an inspirational try late in the game. He told SUFC his most avid supporter is his mother, and anyone who was at SUFG (No.2 Oval) on Saturday would agree as she could be heard cheering from the sideline and playing the drum throughout the match. Tolu added, “I’m an only child, and being a single parent, my mother has always been very supportive. Without my mum, her brothers and her sisters, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Last Thursday, Tolu took some time off the field to attend his long term girlfriend’s graduation on the Central Coast. Graduating with a Bachelor of Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Newcastle, Tolu has been an important support for her academic pursuits over the years and joined her to mark the occasion last week. He also commented, “she is very understanding of my footy career.”

Having represented Sydney University Rugby Club since the age of sixteen, for Tolu, his footy was “the reason to get up on a Saturday.” Not surprisingly, therefore, Tolu cherished the game time he got with the Students against Manly. On his passion for the Students and the game, he remarked: “Last weekend I got to play with guys I haven’t played with for a while. I like to be able to give back to the Club that has supported me since I was a Colt and to help guide the young guys coming through the system.”

In addition to his involvement down at his junior club and on the field at Sydney University, Tolu also helps support the program that has supported him by contributing to the Sydney University Football Club Foundation. Tolu remains a key part of our Club and we thank him for all he does for SUFC.