Christian Mathias Cullen aka The Paekākāariki Express was born 12 February 1976 in Paraparaumu and is acknowledged as one of the greatest players every to step on to the field.
Christian played most of his rugby at fullback for New Zealand (the All Blacks), for the Hurricanes in the Super 12, and for Manawatu, Wellington and later Munster at provincial level. He was nicknamed the Paekākāariki Express and was considered to be one of the most potent running fullbacks rugby has ever seen. With 46 tries scored in 58 Tests, Christian retired as the 9th-highest try-scorer in international rugby.
Christian was born and grew up in Paekākāariki, – for those outside of Kāpiti it is a small town north of Wellington. He is the youngest of three children. He has an elder twin brother named Shane and a sister named Anita. His rugby talent emerged in his high school years and he was selected in the New Zealand secondary schools team in 1993 and 1994.
He played senior rugby for Manawatu in 1995 and scored 70 points through 12 tries, two conversions and two penalty goals. He was selected to the New Zealand sevens squad for tournaments in Fiji and Hong Kong.
Cullen’s provincial career started in 1996 season. He played in the first-ever Super 12 game, contested by the Hurricanes and the Blues. That year he scored seven tries in nine matches.
At the 1996 World Sevens competition in Hong Kong he scored 18 tries, including seven in one match. Later that year he was selected as an All Black. He scored seven tries in his first two Test matches: a hat-trick on debut against Samoa and four tries against Scotland.
In 1997 Christian returned from injury and scored 11 tries in 10 games for the Hurricanes, and 12 tries in 12 Test matches for the All Blacks.
See Video above for some of the greatest tries of all time.