Scarlets’ dual-code dragon: The Origins of Sam Lousi

Scarlets’ dual-code dragon: The Origins of Sam Lousi

Wales is known for its dragons. Adorned across their national flag, the dragon is frequently depicted in fiction as a monstrously large creature, capable of sudden and devastating destruction.

It is appropriate therefore that not only does one dragon appear on the Scarlets’ badge, one also frequently laces up for the Welsh URC side.

Whilst Sam Lousi might not have leathery wings or the ability to breathe fire (that we know of), the Scarlets’ dual-code star has been wreaking destruction on the pitch since his arrival from New Zealand.

Samiuela Lousi’s origins are rooted in the rugby league stronghold of Auckland in New Zealand. Lousi was born into a rugby family in July 1991, with his older brother Sione already making a name for himself for the Tonga national rugby league side. As a schoolboy, Lousi followed suit, playing league for the prestigious St Paul’s College while turning out for grassroots clubs Bay Roskill Vikings and Richmond Rovers. His impressive height and physicality meant he was a dominant presence on the field during his schoolboy career and he soon caught the eye of scouts from the New Zealand Warriors.

Lousi initially featured for the Warriors in the U20s side, playing a pivotal role in their back-to-back Toyota Cup victories in 2010 & 2011 (the NRL’s premier U20s competition), scoring his first professional try in the 53rd minute of the inaugural season’ grand final against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane. These performances led to Sam being promoted to the senior team, becoming the tallest and heaviest Warrior in the squad at the age of just 22.

Interestingly, Lousi’s NRL career had an unusual beginning. His debut came after playing a game earlier in the day for the NSW Vulcans (a former Auckland-based rugby league development side) coming in as a last-minute injury replacement at Mt Smart Stadium in his hometown.

These performances saw Lousi attract international recognition and he was soon called up to the Tonga national side for the 2019 Japan World Cup, where he played in every one of their games at the tournament. Following the World Cup, he moved to Europe, joining United Rugby Championship side, the Scarlets. His career with Scarlets has continued to flourish, with a standout campaign in the 2021-2022 season, winning Scarlets’ Fan and Player’s Player of the Season awards, cementing himself as an indispensable member of the team. He has gone on to make 62 appearances for the Scarlets, scoring eight tries and feature once again in every game of Tonga’s 2023 World Cup campaign.

Sam Lousi has become renowned in the URC for his physical stature. By combining his physicality with an impressive passing range, he has developed as a force from both set pieces and open play.

Lousi’s dynamic and league-inspired style also makes him an elusive attacking threat for the Scarlets, and he has become the URC’s all-time leader in offloads averaging 2.38 per game. Lousi’s offloading ability makes defending him a headache for his opponents, as his skill at providing offloads from unlikely positions frequently releases teammates into open space.

Lousi’s experiences and origins playing rugby league have led him to help set the standards for offloading in the URC. He is part of a unique history of dual-code players and his skill, size, and ability to distribute from the most difficult of spots has helped cement his reputation across the league as a multifaceted threat on the field and as a game-breaking talent.

A warrior, a waratah, and now a Scarlet – no matter the shirt, Samiuela Lousi (like the dragon on his shirt) can wreak havoc.

Latest News