With just a few weeks left till their test matches against Georgia, Fiji and Tonga, our locally based Manu Samoa boys are giving their all to get into top shape.
But for Oneone Faafou from the village of Siumu, just putting on that blue jersey will mean the world to him.
Honoring his wife, two sons, family and village through his selection into the team, Oneone is just happy that his dream of being in the Manu came true.
Being a man of a few words, the Manu rep feels that he speaks louder with his feet and skills on the field doing something he loves.
“Rugby is my favorite sport,” he said.
“Everything that has to do with rugby is great, the amount of skills needed on the field, the determination a player needs, the hard hits, I love it all.”
For Oneone, being selected for this year’s squad makes him a happy man knowing that his hard work has paid off.
“I want to say thank you to the coach for selecting me to be in the Manu Samoa 2016, it is a pleasure and an honor to put on that blue jersey,” he said
“Growing up I have always wanted to play for the Manu Samoa; I dedicated a lot of my time into my training and I pushed myself in every way possible to get to where I am today.
“My determination led to my family believing in me which then gained their support, I am just happy that I can make them all proud by being selected.
“With my family proud of me I aim to make my country proud as well and I know that it won’t come easy which is why I train really hard up till now.”
A combination of fitness and skill is what Oneone feels makes a top notch rugby player but it did not come natural for him, but rather, a lot of work and time was invested into it all.
“I work a lot on my fitness and basic ball work skills so that I can be as effective as possible on the field,” he said.
“My passion for rugby came just like many other young people in Samoa, as I grew up I played a lot of rugby with friends and I always had daydreams on what it would be like to one day represent Samoa.
“Now that I have made it I know that dreams do come true if you work hard for it.”
Just like all athletes, everything starts from home.
“My parents were my biggest supporters, every morning they would give me taxi money so that I could get to the gym to train; I am so grateful for that,” he said.
“Now that I am where I am today, all that taxi money paid off and now I can pay them back from the earnings I get with my rugby career.”
But all that training is trivial if you do not have a heart for what you represent.
“My heart is 100% for Samoa; if I was offered a lot of money to play for any other team I would reject them because to me, Manu Samoa is my dream team,” he said.
“For those growing up wanting to be a rugby player, just stick to your training and listen to your coach, you will get there.”