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The Wesley College rugby factory has churned out some big names in recent years - All Blacks Jonah Lomu, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Casey Laulala among them.

But perhaps none as BIG as Uini Atonio. Uini - pronounced Weeny - tips the scales at 152kg and is almost two metres tall. He was 17 in March.

"People think, '150kg, he must be fat.' But he's very quick, very mobile," says the Pukekohe school's rugby director Mike Todd.

Uini's name was on everyone's lips yesterday at the official Counties Manukau rugby registration. Uini himself was in his dormitory room, dozing. But then he is usually up at the crack of dawn, pumping iron - he can bench-press 125kg.

A tighthead prop, Uini can be compared to bearded All Black strongman Carl Hayman, considered the world's best prop. Despite his height, Hayman weighs a relatively modest 120kg.

Uini, when asked if he truly was 152kg, sounded a little hurt. "I've lost weight. I'm only 145kg now. I love the physicality of rugby. You know, running people over."

Uini boasted of scoring a 50m try against Te Aute College in Hawkes Bay last year. "The halfback passed to me on the blind, I ran over the No 8, pushed off the hooker and then outpaced the wing. The fullback didn't want to chase me." It's little wonder opposing teams have been known to default on purpose.

Close to signing a professional contract with Counties, Uini also plans to study performing arts and would love to appear on Shortland Street like his hero, Vinnie Kruse.