The Tongan Bear has become a cult figure since joining the Hurricanes in 2016 thanks to his Mr T haircut and penchant for wearing his wrap-around sunglasses whenever possible.
A likeable loose head prop with a big laugh, Uhila's rise to prominence as a professional rugby players has something of a fairytale feel.
After growing up in Tonga, he came to New Zealand on a scholarship to Sacred Heart College, picked up after a close friend decided to turn down the opportunity to play rugby in Japan.
Uhila made his way into the Waikato Mitre 10 Cup squad where he battled away for nearly five years before Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd finally came calling with the offer of an Investec Super Rugby contract.
Motivated to provide for his family and young daughter Lile, Uhila dabbled as a professional boxer as he waited for his rugby break. His professional record stands at two fights for one loss and one win, both bouts against David "The Brown Butterbean" Letele.
Uhila made every post a winner with the Hurricanes in 2016 and ended up playing a key role in the team's run to the title. He was named Team Man of the Year at the Hurricanes end of year awards night.
CAPTION: Loni Uhila charges forward during round 17 of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby match against the Crusaders. PHOTO: Getty Sport