Logovi’i Mulipola's dreams of Samoa
As he enters his ninth club season in England, Manu Samoa prop Logovi’i Mulipola finds himself drawn back home to Samoa.
The 32-year-old, from Manono and Vailoa Palauli, is set for his first club appearance this weekend, having missed the start of the season with the Rugby World Cup. He has been selected for a spot on the bench for a Newcastle Falcons XV that will play Scottish side Stirling County on Sunday morning Samoan time.
Mulipoola is fully committed to the club heading into his second season in Newcastle. But in the long-term?
“I really wanna go back and stay in Samoa,” he said.
The prop sees himself returning home eventually, and continuing to serve Samoan rugby in some way.
He said he’s always happy to come back and recharge where possible.
“[I really would like to] have some proper food, [to] get you that energy,” Mulipola said.
“Have a nice kalo, luau, pig, chicken… gets you going.
“Fresh coconut, fagu sea, oh my God.”
It’s not just the food; seeing family, too, is energising for Mulipola:
“It’s been nine Christmases now I haven’t spent [...] in Samoa," he said.
“That’s why it’s always special when you go back home.”
Although Samoa will always be home, Mulipola is getting used to Newcastle, but perhaps not its cold weather.
He said it’s a student city that provides a good lifestyle, but the local accent is hard to grapple with:
“If you have a conversation with the Geordie people, you won’t understand anything," he said.
“It’s like they’re speaking another language, but it’s English.
“For example, in English you say: ‘Are you alright’; in Geordie you say: ‘y’areet’.
“You’re like, 'Oh my God, please speak English!'”
But Mulipola joked everyone understands everything after a couple of beers.
The Manu prop was brought in by the Falcons after seven years at the Leicester Tigers, where he used to play (and share a house with) the Tuilagis.
Mulipola said he misses them, and the other friends he made in Leicester:
“We always talk on the phone: after a game, before a game," he said.
“That’s why I didn’t miss [Samoa] much, because I felt like one of the family there.”
Of course that made it difficult for Mulipola to leave for Newcastle.
“At the end of the day, you’ve gotta find something good for yourself, you’ve gotta move on,” he said.
And when Mulipola hangs up his boots one day (the veteran wants one more World Cup appearance in 2023), expect him to move on home to Samoa and give back to the game which has given him so much.