Luteru's surprise ascension to Manu squad
Malo Luteru from Vailele, Laulii, and Uafato Fagaloa is grateful for the opportunity to be selected in the Manu Samoa wider sevens squad.
But he was surprised to read his name on the team list because he thought that the management would never recognise a player with his body size.
"Honestly, I was taken by surprise when I saw my name on the list the night it was posted. I mean, it never crossed my mind that Muliaga and his management [would] look at someone [like me],” he said.
“For one thing, I was playing against previous members of the Manu Samoa and I guess, I actually doubted my capabilities but with this selection, it has motivated me to develop my talent and have faith in myself.”
He reminisces about his childhood days where he was living at Uafato Fagaloa, where rugby doesn't exist.
He remembers Samoan cricket and volleyball being the only sports in Fagaloa.
He first encountered rugby when he moved to Vaivase Primary school.
"I started playing rugby at Vaivase Primary School where I was awarded man of the match in one of the games back then,” he said.
“When I entered Leifiifi College I was fortunate to meet one of the former Manu Samoa players, Reupena Levasa. He was someone I had always looked up to and had made me look at rugby as a career.”
In his time at Leifiifi College, he was selected in a team that travelled to New Zealand for a competition at which they were victorious.
"Leifiifi has opened a few doors for me, I was able to use my knowledge and skills that were developed here through our teachers or coaches, in the rugby clubs that I'm involved in,” he said.
“I am currently playing for B.B.E. Vaiala where I was selected to be a part of the Manu Samoa wider squad. I will not waste this opportunity as not all rugby enthusiasts were able to make it. I am hoping to make it big one day in rugby," he said.
If Luteru can nominate one thing holding him back from being the best player he can be, it's his self-esteem; he is working on overcoming his fears tomake his family proud.
"The challenge for me in rugby is that I am too scared,” he said.
“I fear that my opponent is bigger than me and I won't be able to perform well. However, I am currently working on surpassing that.
“I know anything is possible with God, and with God as your armour, I will be fine. I will work harder to reach my goal and to develop my talent well. If ever I don't make it in the final selection of the team, it is not going to be the end of the world but it's only the beginning of another level of learning.”
Luteru is 19 years of age, and he is a Year 13 student. His parents are Luteru and Magele Luteru.