- 23 Age
- 121kg Weight
- 198cm Height
Given he only started playing Rugby when he was 17, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto’s trajectory in Rugby is something of a marvel.
Formerly Lukhan Tui, he changed his surname to Salakaoa-Loto in October 2018 to honour his late stepfather.
Standing at 198cm and weighing in at 121kg, with size 19 shoes, Salakaia-Loto is a powerful young man who has worked hard to establish himself as a regular starter for the Reds and has found his groove as a dominant, dynamic lock.
Salakaia-Loto made his Reds debut in South Africa in 2016 – a year later he was making his Wallabies debut in the same country.
The 2016 season was a breakout one for Salakaia-Loto, as he formed a key part of the packs of the Queensland and Australian Under 20s, as well as Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship, where he was one of the standout tight forwards. His first full year with Queensland Rugby was also the year he made his St.George Queensland Reds debut against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
In 2017 he established himself as a regular starter for the Reds, before earning his Test debut against the Springboks. His full skillset and power were on display later in the year when he had a stellar cameo off the bench in the Wallabies’ upset win over the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane.
Endured a disrupted Super Rugby season due to injury and suspension (for a dangerous tackle in Round 2), but was selected in the Wallabies squad for the June Test series against Ireland, despite having only played three games for the Reds in the lead up. His Test preparations also included a run in second grade for Souths against Logan (with the first grade side having a bye that weekend) to get his match fitness up in time. Worked his way into the series, with two appearances off the bench, before starting at blindside flanker in the final Test. Also represented Australia later in the year, starting at lock in the opening four matches of The Rugby Championship.
Worked his way into the starting side toward the back end of the season due to strong performances, which also saw him named in the Wallabies squad for the June Test series. Made his Test debut against South Africa and played a further two Tests, including an impressive run off the bench in Australia’s upset win over New Zealand in the third Bledisloe. Added to his caps for Brisbane City in the NRC and was named on the Wallabies spring tour but missed selection due to a hamstring injury. Also represented the Wallabies against the Barbarians in an exhibition match and was selected for Australia’s Spring Tour.
Made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds. Won the inaugural Super U20s Championship with Queensland and was again selected to represent the Australian Under 20s. Made his National Rugby Championship debut for Brisbane City.
Was a pivotal member of the Australian squad at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy. The young lock was named in the Bond University Queensland Country squad for the 2015 Buildcorp NRC season but a shoulder injury prior to round one prevented him from taking the field.
Australian Under 20s (2015-2016)
Brisbane City NRC (2016-)
Wallabies v Barbarians (2017)