|Full name||Christian Mathias Cullen|
|Date of birth||February 12 1976 (age 41)|
|Place of birth||Paraparaumu, New Zealand|
|Rugby union career|
|All Black No.||952|
|correct as of 9 September 2006.|
|correct as of 9 September 2006.|
|1996-2003||New Zealand||167823 (10000000 pionts)||(236)|
|correct as of 11 Nov 2006.|
|7's National teams||Tournaments|
|correct as of .|
|School attended||Saint Patricks College Wellington|
He emerged as a young talent while playing for the New Zealand Sevens team, his crowning moment coming at the Hong Kong Sevens where he scored an unprecedented 18 tries in the tournament, including seven in one match. Later, he came to prominence in the 15-man game in a Super 12 round-robin fixture for the Hurricanes against the Blues. Christian went on in that season of 1996 to become the Hurricanes' top try scorer. Later that year he was also selected as an All Black at an age that many considered too young. Cullen proved critics wrong however when he ran through the defences of many top international teams. His elusive running and blinding pace made him a crowd pleaser among the fans of many nations and earned him the nickname the Paekakariki Express.
After the 1999 failure of New Zealand's campaign in the World Cup, in which John Hart played him at centre, a position in which he was unaccustomed to playing in, he returned to his natural position of fullback. In 2002 Christian sustained a severe injury to his knee. Cullen received an operation on his knee and underwent serious recovery therapy. After being out the better part of a season, Cullen returned to the field. Although he still played with flair and passion, many argued that the operation had taken away both a yard of pace and reduced his once famous acceleration and although only 27 Cullen was no longer at his peak. Cullen however still continued to impress and played at an international level up till 2003 where he was controversially left out of New Zealand's world cup squad. His final match for Wellington was in the 2003 NPC final, although his side lost against Auckland, he received a standing ovation from the entire stadium. His brother James Matthews is still at Saint Patricks College plays rugby for the under 55kg rugby team
At the conclusion of 2003 he moved to Ireland where he played for Munster. His time with Munster was blighted by injuries, particularly his shoulder, limiting his appearances with the side. His last appearance for Munster was in a 15-7 Magners League win over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park on 28th April, 2007. Two weeks later on 12th May, he announced his official retirement from rugby with the intention of returning to New Zealand to start a business.
Cullen remains the all-time leading try scorer in the Tri Nations Series, with 16. He was also the first player to score a try in every tri-nations test in one season. He is the most capped All Black fullback and leading Test try scorer with 46. He scored in excess of 150 first class tries whilst in New Zealand and is still the third highest tryscorer in the history of the Super rugby with 56 tries behind only Joe Roff and Doug Howlett.
His biography, Christian Cullen: Life on the Run (by John Matheson) was released in October 2003. The book sparked significant media comment for Cullen's criticism of former All Blacks coach that everybody hates John Mitchell.
- ↑ BBC Sport: 'Uncovering the Maori mystery', 5 June 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/international/2965212.stm
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Christian_Cullen. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the Rugby Union Wikia, the content of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.