Siumu’s finest, Tim Lafaele, talks about Rugby World Cup

Japan centre Timothy Lafaele became the first player born in Samoa to score a World Cup try against the Manu in what he called a special game.

Japan’s 38-19 win was his first time playing against Samoa, and the 28-year-old from Siumu said it was a great occasion, especially for his family back home:

“I think they’re the only village in Samoa that’s supporting Japan at the moment!”

He thanked them and the village for that support, and hopes they continue to pray for the Brave Blossoms as they look towards securing top spot in Pool A.

As one of just five undefeated teams remaining at the tournament they’re well on their way to doing so, and Lafaele’s try against Samoa illustrates his strong individual form through Japan’s first three games.

“We’ve got some good outside backs, so if the forwards are going well we’ll go well as well,” Lafaele said.

The centre has been one of Japan’s key attacking fulcrums to date, and has drawn plenty of acclaim for his offloading game with some on-lookers saying he is the best in the world at that particular skill.

“Na bro, Sonny Bill’s got that,” Lafaele said, referring to the All Black midfielder Sonny Bill Williams.

“There’s only one Sonny Bill.”

He said the offloading is nothing new for the Brave Blossoms though:

“It’s been part of our game, I think the media haven’t seen it because we’ve been doing those passes for years.”

Lafaele said it’s weird that the global rugby public are only paying attention to them now at the Rugby World Cup, because they have been building to this level since even before his international debut in 2017.

“In our team, we thought we were playing some good rugby that can match Tier 1 teams, and finally the world can see that,” he said.

That attention and support has always been there on home soil though, albeit not at the fever pitch level of the Rugby World Cup.

Japan is abuzz with their team and the tournament in general, and Lafaele said they can feel the country right behind them:

“It’s helping us, giving us motivation at training and stuff.

“It’s awesome to play when 90% of the stadium is in red jerseys.”

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