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Christian Cullen

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Christian Cullen (born February 12, 1976 in Paraparaumu) is a New Zealand rugby player. He was arguably the best running back of the modern game. He emerged as a young talent while playing for the New Zealand Sevens team. 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 in an unfavoured position, 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 its toll and Cullen was no longer at his peak. Cullen however still continued to impress and played at an international level up till 2003.

At the conclusion of 2003 he moved to Ireland, where he plays for Munster. He missed most of his first season for Munster due to a shoulder injury.

Cullen remains the all-time leading try scorer in the Tri Nations Series, with 16. He is the most capped All Black fullback and the New Zealand's leading try scorer in Tests with 46.

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 All Blacks coach John Mitchell.it:Christian Cullen

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