Humbled by the opportunity

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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COMING BACK HOME: Auvasa Falealili scored the only try for Samoa against England during the Junior World Cup tournament in 2009.

COMING BACK HOME: Auvasa Falealili scored the only try for Samoa against England during the Junior World Cup tournament in 2009.

Known for his strong passing, tackling technique and with a knack of creative play, the NSW Waratah’s player, Auvasa Falealili is joining the Manu Samoa squad for this week’s test match against Georgia. 

The 26-year old, who was born and raised in Auckland New Zealand, started playing professional rugby at the age of 19. 

In 2009, Auvasa made his debut for Auckland during the ITM cup where he was named as Auckland’s 2009 Rookie of the Year. In that same year, he was called to play for Samoa in the Junior World Cup and he scored the only try for Samoa against England for the tournament. 

He moved to Australia and expanded his career there and earned a spot for the NSW Waratah. And from there he was able to sign a contract with the Uson Rugby Club in France. 

Speaking to the Observer Sports, Falealili admitted that the road to where he is now has not been easy.

“It was tough and there were a lot of challenges along the way,” he said. 

However, he said that he is where he is now because of the ongoing support from his family and friends. 

“I wouldn’t be able to come this far if it weren’t for my parents and family who always believed in me and pushed me to keep trying. And now I am living my dream.”

And what is that dream? 

Despite being born and raised up in New Zealand, Auvasa said he always had at the back of his head to play for the Manu Samoa. 

“Growing up in New Zealand, you are surrounded by friends and boys who are all aiming to put on the black jersey one day. But for me, I always had at the back of my head to play for Manu Samoa. That’s because it is the place of birth for both of my parents and it is where their hearts belong.”

So wearing the blue jersey is more than just playing the sport Auvasa is passionate about, it is about representing his parents and giving back to Samoa. 

“When I was selected for the Manu Samoa U20’s in 2009, I really enjoyed it. I was comfortable being around with the other players and there is always that joy in you knowing that your parents are proud of what you’re doing and it also motivates me to do my best. And I am honoured to be here and to play for the Manu Samoa.”

With just a few days away before the kick off of the game against Georgia, Auvasa said preparations are going well for their team. 

“We are all different players from all over the world and we are all here for the same purpose, and that is to represent our country. And preparations have been really good so far. It has been good working with the coach and management and to rub shoulders with the other boys here.”

He is also positive that they will win the game against Georgia. 

“Like I said, preparations have been really great and I am keen and looking forward to it. I like to stay and think positive and I am also positive about our first game.”

For the dynamic halfback player, family and faith are his main motivation. 

“I’ve always loved playing rugby and it has been a passion of mine to play the game ever since I was young. But my family were my main inspiration, and they kept telling me to have faith, work hard and believe in myself.”

With Auvasa being an influential player to many young Samoans, he too has his own hero to look up to.

“There are quite a few players I looked up to when I was young,  but I would say that Tana Umaga is my main idol and I have always looked up to him when I was growing up. 

“I admire his passion for the game and how he is a proud Samoan. He represents us all and left a good legacy and I am hoping to be like him one day.”

 Auvasa Falealili is from the villages of Gagaifo Lefaga and Letogo in Samoa. He is the youngest of five brothers and a younger sister with his family residing in New Zealand. Auvasa and his partner Gina have two children, Tavita and Breeyah. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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