Piri Weepu's World Cup campaign may take on a redemptive tone for very different reasons than that of his teammates.

Weepu was a controversial omission from the 2007 World Cup squad, despite being a key part of the selectors' plans earlier in the season. The Wellington halfback was in a group put on a rest-and-reconditioning plan through the 2007 Super rugby season, and played in all but one of the Tri-Nations tests.

But the selectors had a change of heart, citing form and attitude as the reasons behind Weepu's non-selection.

He dealt with his axing the way any well-adjusted adult would - by breaking team protocol and going out to drown his sorrows just days before the All Blacks' final Tri-Nations test against Australia. To his credit, Weepu has come back and answered his critics, reclaiming the black jersey in 2008, and has remained in the fray since.


He had a strong 2010 Tri-Nations, but his year ended badly, with a broken leg while playing for Wellington.

Now back to full fitness, it is expected the stocky halfback with play a key role in the world tournament. As well as battling Jimmy Cowan for the starting halfback spot, Weepu is also considered a back-up option at first five-eighths, providing a useful goal-kicking option.

Weepu's physique, heavy for a halfback, has often earned him unflattering nicknames, but he is strong and agile.

Position: Halfback
Tests: 49
Born: September 7, 1983, in Lower Hutt
Stats: 1.78m, 96kg

Wellington and Hurricanes