The head of the famous Leuluai league family, to this day James remains a revered figure in the north of England after an illustrious career where he starred for Hull FC, Leigh and Wakefield.
The highlight came in the way of winning the 1981-82 Challenge Cup with Hull, doing so alongside fellow New Zealander Gary Kemble.
A player renowned for his technical knowledge of the game, Leuluai played both centre and fullback through a career which saw him represent the Kiwis in 29 Tests, including a try-scoring performance as the Kiwis rolled Australia 18-0 at Carlaw Park in 1985 – New Zealand’s first-ever shutout victory over the Kangaroos.
After retiring from professional footy, Leuluai returned to New Zealand where he played in Wellington, helping the regional side to break a 75-year winless drought over Auckland.
As a coach Leuluai led the Junior Kiwis in the early 2000s, as well as serving as an assistant for the Kiwis across numerous campaigns.
Professional clubs: Manly, Hull, Leigh and Wakefield
Local clubs: Mt Wellington Warriors, Petone Panthers
(Main photo: James Leuluai (left) with son Thomas. Credit: photosport.nz).