Tough NSW backrower Wycliff Palu is more often known for putting in gritty performances at the base of the scrum for Super Rugby outfit the Waratahs, but not many rugby fans know that Palu once had a promising career in the music industry.
When he first debuted on the Super Rugby rugby field in the 2005 season his hard running impressed Wallaby selectors enough to give him his first test cap in the 2006 season. Not shy for a bit of a controversy, he has spent some time in the can after an assault charge and has been known to irritate his team mates with his highly offensive opinions about the critical quality of the HBO show, The Sopranos.
But back in the 1990s it looked like lil’ Wycliff (as he was known back then) was far away from the lure of a rugby field. Along with Lauren Hill and rapper Pras Michell, Palu made up part of the highly successful hip hop trio the Fugees. The bands explosive mix of personalities soon led to their breakup and lil’ Wycliff went on to launch an unsuccessful solo career. His first album, Songs for an S&M Evening, was a commercial and critical failure and he moved to Sydney to try to rebuild his career.
His quest for “a new sound” led him to a Sydney night club where he met Waratahs coach Ewen Mackenzie. While Palu’s innovative drumming style that evening failed to land him a new recording contract with the suits from Sony, he was drafted in by Ewen to bring on the kicking tee for the Waratahs. A few open trial sessions later and Palu found himself trading in his gold pleather jacket for the faded blue NSW Waratahs jersey. 50 test caps says he made the right career switch.