14 hours ago - 3 Likes
Like Father , Like Son
As coach of the Eastern Tornadoes, where Thomas made his name, James gives plenty of readily accepted advice.
But Luelai snr has had less input as Kiwis backs adviser in the run up to the test against Australia at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday.
"Dad has a lot of confidence in Daniel Anderson's coaching and so do I, I trust him because what he's told me so far has worked for me," Thomas said of his Warriors and Kiwis coach.
Born on June 22, 1985, Thomas becomes the second youngest Kiwi ever behind five-eighth Dennis Williams, who made his debut against Great Britain in 1971 at Salford a day after his 18th birthday.
The Kiwis won the match 18-13, won the second test and lost the third. Williams went on to a 10-year, 31-test career.
The younger Leuluai has had 12 National Rugby League (NRL) starts, showing tenacious defence and some confidence on attack.
His proud father said he knew his son could do more on attack.
James played 29 tests and 24 other games for New Zealand between 1979 and 1986 and three Challenge Cup finals for Hull.
So far his only tip to Thomas is to be confident and stay relaxed.
"He's a pretty relaxed guy, anyway," James said.
There are no injury worries in the Kiwi camp.
They were guests at a dinner last night to mark the 100th test between the two countries since the then All Golds won the first series 2-1 against Australia in 1908.
Current Kiwis captain Ruben Wiki said they really wanted to compete this time after having the game snatched from them early at Aussie Stadium in July.
He shook his head when asked what went wrong then.
"We stuck it to them early but then we made some poor decisions out wide ? it was gone before we knew it."
Wiki, 30, has one year remaining on his contract at Canberra and intends giving it his best shot for a premiership.