Despite not winning the award for Rookie of the Year for the World Sevens Series, Phoenix-Hunapo Nofoa said he is still grateful and honoured.
Along with three others, Phoenix was selected as one of the nominees.
And for that, Phoenix said he couldn’t be happier and more grateful.
“I was very proud and honoured for the recognition,” he told Samoa Observer. “The boys I played with during that season helped me to get the nomination and while I didn’t win it; I was still honoured to even be nominated.”
Being nominated for such an award was something he did not expect.
“It was a huge excitement for me and I had no idea how it came about. But I guess it was because of the way I played during the season with the help of the boys in the team.”
Despite missing out on the Manu Samoa’s victory at the Paris leg, the 21-year-old did very well and was impressive in Vancouver where the commentator compared him to Waisale Serevi when he made his debut in Dubai.
The Manu Samoa Star started playing grassroots rugby back in New Zealand.
During the interview with Samoa Observer, he said his skills and talent started to develop and grow when he went up to high school.
As a young boy growing up in New Zealand, Phoenix said it was always his dream to put on the black jersey and play for the All Blacks.
“But the blue jersey is fine,” he said. “I was fortunate to come here and play for my country and I am happy and grateful for that. It’s an honour for me to represent my family and country.”
Hard work and commitment is what Phoenix believes contributed to where he is now.
“Everything works out well if you put your mind and heart into it and work really hard. Keep working hard and keep the discipline - on and off the field.”
This year the other Rookie nominees were Bautista Ezcurra, Henry Hutchison and Regan Ware.
Nineteen-year-old Henry Hutchison from Australia was chosen by the TV commentators to receive the award presented by Collins Injera, who set his own record at Twickenham, overtaking Santiago Gomez Cora in the top of the try-scoring charts.