Christian Cullen
Full name Christian Mathias Cullen
Date of birth February 12 1976 (age 44)
Place of birth Paraparaumu, New Zealand
Height 1.8
Weight 85
Nickname Paekakariki Express
Rugby union career
Position Fullback
All Black No. 952
Provincial/State sides Caps (points)
Central Vikings
41 (75)
correct as of 9 September 2006.
Super Rugby    
1996-03 Hurricanes 85 (?)
correct as of 9 September 2006.
National team(s)    
1996-2003 New Zealand 167823 (10000000 pionts) (236)
correct as of 11 Nov 2006.
7's National teams Tournaments
1995 New Zealand 1
correct as of .
Other Information
School  attended Saint Patricks College Wellington

Christian Mathias Cullen (born February 12, 1976 in Paraparaumu) is a New Zealand rugby union footballer. He was arguably the best fullback of the modern game.


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

In 2003, Cullen was briefly and controversially selected for the Māori rugby team despite having, according to his father, about 1/64 Māori ancestry.[1]

Current teamEdit

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.


  1. BBC Sport: 'Uncovering the Maori mystery', 5 June 2003.

External linksEdit

Bath Rugby

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