Grandmother rugby star's inspiration

A 19-year-old rugby player, Daniel Patelesio, says his grandmother has been his biggest inspiration - in life but also in a blossoming career that is about to offer him international opportunities. 

Seventy-five-year-old Nive Ptelesio is the Tufulele rugby team's biggest fan who often startles spectators with her passion for the team and support for her grandson. 

Patelesio told Samoa Observer that his grandmother cared for him and his brother after their parents separated; consequently both he and his brother say their grandmother played the role of both a father and mother.

“It’s unusual these days to find a grandmother who never misses a game, never leaves your side and breaks down when you come home late,” he said. 

“My grandmother is my dad and mom and best friend and I’m always inspired to see her at my games.”

Supporters of teams playing against Tufulele are often caught off guard by his grandmother's vigorous cheering from the sidelines.

And the sight of Patelesio kneeling before his grandmother to thank her for presence and support during a match has often left rugby fans in awe.

Patelesio dreams of breaking into the Manu Samoa squad and to represent Samoa one day - something he knows will be the cherry on the cake for his grandmother.

According to the 75-year-old, she worries for her grandson’s health but not seeing a smile on his face worries her more.

“You see, this kid loves rugby so much which we know can be very dangerous at times but if I stop him from playing, he won’t be as happy as his dream is to play rugby and make it to the bigger fields,” she said.

Patelesio and his brother currently attend the National University of Samoa and reside in Tufulele.

In his recent win with the Tufulele rugby team last Saturday the team dominated the second round of the Tuamasaga Rugby Union Tournament.

He will migrate to New Zealand soon, though, and that relocation continues to worry his grandmother, especially with the threat posed by the coronavirus.

"I just pray that God be with him always and I taught him to keep his prayers as his weapon to fight whatever trial comes his way," she added.

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