Yesterday was a fantastic day for the Lilomaiava household at Fagali’i.
As Samoa celebrated Manu Samoa’s 42-12 win over Canada, the family of the debutant who scored four of the Manu’s five tries knelt in prayer and thanksgiving.
Robert Lilomaiava’s father, VisesioLilomaiava could not have been prouder of his son.
For the truck driver at Apia Haulage Limited, seeing his second eldest child on TV in Manu Samoa’s proud blue jersey was a teary moment.
For more than ten years, he has worked as a driver to school his six children.
Speaking to the Sunday Samoan yesterday, he said “Lape” who Robert is known at home, contributes a lot to the development of the family.
“First of all I thank God for the talent that he has gifted him (Lape) and that their game went well,” he said. “He has done well and not only has he made our family happy, but served our country through rugby.
“Lape is a strong pillar of our family who contributes almost all he has for our family for the many things that we do.
“His talent is a gift from God and I thank Him for His will to gift him with it that has helped with our family, served our country, and contributed to the village and church obligations.”
His father’s face was wreathed in smiles when he was asked about his son’s performance.
“It was an impressive performance from the boys in Blue and a well-deserved win,” he said.
And when his son scored, quickly followed by another one, the proud father knew it would be a good game.
“I’m content that the first game went well.”
Prior to Lape’s departure for the Northern Hemisphere, he was worried about his mother’s condition. The father said he felt unsure about leaving while his mother Rosa was about to undergo an operation.
“It was hard for him to go but his mother told him she’d be fine and not to worry about her,” said Mr. Lilomaiava.
“Her operation went well and he has called now and then to check if she is okay and to check on us.
“We don’t call him because we don’t want to distract him from his games but when we do talk we encourage him and tell him to play his best.”
The 46-year-old father recalls Lape playing rugby on the dirt-ridden yard in front of their house.
“I remember when he was seven years old, he asked me to buy him a rugby ball so he could practice his kick offs,” said his father. “From that day, he had always played rugby kicking the ball from that end to the other and it has always been a sport that he’s passionate about.”
Growing up with an older brother who is always on the field playing,Lape’s younger brother Nathan, is following in his footsteps.
He said he enjoys watching his older brother play but hopes to be better than him.
Nathan plays for Maluafou College rugby team.
A former student of Avele College,Lape played for their 5th and 3rd grade.
He captained the College first XV in 2009 and 2010 and the 7s team for the Smokefree Championships.
His father said he also won first place in hurdles at the interschool championship.
Other than rugby, Lape is also a keen volleyball player, likes to play a game of pool with his friends but his priority has always been rugby.