For many boys, growing up with older brothers was a pain.
For Elia Elia, that was not the case. Rather than getting annoyed with being in the shadow of his older siblings, he made them his biggest inspiration for his rugby career.
With that, he has now been given one of Samoa’s biggest honors; to become part of the Manu Samoa. Although Elia is not part of the team to play Georgia today, he says he is loving moment with the team.
“Growing up I always looked up to my brothers,” he told the Weekend Observer.
“They were always the forefront of my decision to play rugby, growing up in that sporting environment with Mom and Dad’s family both being involved with sports.
“To further my drive for rugby I always looked to my brothers, growing up through the grades has really developed me as a player.
“Now with me reaching this level of rugby and learning a lot from the other boys here and how they have gone with their careers; so for my aspiration to be where they are now is my way of giving back to my family.”
But how did it all start for the young Manu Star?
“I was born and bred in Canterbury and that’s where I went through the grades,” he said.
“It wasn’t till my last year of schooling that we really decided to develop and really make those high teams.
“I was selected for New Zealand’s Condor Sevens in 2013, the next year I was with the under 19’s, then in 2015 I got to captain the under 19’s where we won the national title, I also made the Samoa under 20’s that same year for the world cup.
“This year I got the opportunity to play for the under 20’s competition again where we won the tier two competition in Zimbabwe which was good.”
With excitement still radiating from Elia, he continued to explain how much honor it is to be part of the Manu.
“Words cannot express how it felt when I got that exciting call that I made the Manu Samoa team,” he said.
“It’s a big achievement for me to be here; it’s exciting; when I got the phone call I told mom straight away and she almost started crying at work and wanted to leave to come home and celebrate with me.
“I was really nervous because it’s a big step representing a lot of people.
“I will just continue to focus on doing my best and take every step towards helping my team make Samoa proud.”
According to Elia, Sacrifice is important in becoming a successful rugby player.
“A good rugby player is someone that’s willing to sacrifice everything,” he said.
“Someone that is willing to train hard even on off days, someone that does whatever is possible to really further his rugby.
“Someone that knows that their country is on their back and that every step is not just your own.”
Growing up in a Christian environment also helped Elia in terms of character building as he pursued his love for rugby.
“My parents inspire me the most,” he said.
“They raised a really strong Christian family so they have really knuckled down on me; so following them and what they want really helped me as i grew up.”
“But all in all; thank you Samoa for your support. The boys really do need it over the next couple of test matches, I am sure your boys will do you proud.”