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Rugby star at Rippa tourney

Friday 11 June 2010 | Published in Regional

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Rarotonga school children had the opportunity to shake the hands of ex All Black Christian Cullen – regarded by many as the greatest All Black fullback of all time.

Cullen and his wife Mandy were guests of honour at yesterday’s CITC Primary School Rippa Rugby Tournament where the retired rugby star gave the kids a thrill by handing out the rippa awards.

Cullen and Mandy tied the knot a month ago after being together for 12 years and are on the island for their honeymoon with son Cole (19 months), daughter Dillon (12 weeks) and Cullen’s parents.

Cullen told Cook Islands News that rugby wise he’s not up to a lot.

He says that his involvement in rugby these days is with junior development and promotional work.

However, Cullen is still regarded as one of the greatest All Blacks of his generation.

His rise to fame came throughout the 2006 season when he played in the first ever Super 12 game between the Blues and Hurricanes and going on to score seven tries in nine matches and become the Hurricanes’ top scorer.

Later that year and at just 20, Cullen was selected as an All Black.

Cullen exploded on to the rugby scene with plenty of flair and his lists of achievements are very impressive indeed.

Cullen remains the all-time try scorer in the Tri Nation Series with 16 tries.

He was also the first player to score a try in every tri-nations test in one season and is the most capped All Black fullback.

Cullen has been enjoying his first visit to Rarotonga and looks forward to a couple more days of rest and relaxation with his family before returning home to Paraparaumu, Wellington.