Leitufia believes in 'no pain no gain'
Eighteen-year-old Neueli Leitufia of Laulii has described his selection in the Manu Samoa Sevens squad as a humbling experience and hopes it will take his game to the next level.
Leitufia, who plays for the Matniuel Laulii Lions, attends the Pesega College and his parents are Tuautu Molesi and Otara Leitufia.
He was once selected into the U-20 training squad but did not make it to the team but that did not stop him from developing his talent.
"I started playing rugby when I was attending Laulii Primary School, then moved on to College level until 2016 that I started to enter into our village rugby club where I was selected to be a part of the Manu Samoa Wider squad,” he said.
“With the selection, it only means that I have taken it into another level, even though it's just the wider squad but I am humbled and grateful.”
"I was once selected in the U-20 training squad but was unsuccessful. I hope that with this selection I will be able to lift my rugby career to another level. If not the Manu Samoa team, hopefully, I can find a club in an overseas country.
“Being chosen is just another step to my rugby career but it'll be a huge blessing for me and my family if I make it into the Manu Samoa Sevens or perhaps an overseas club.”
Leitufia has also played in the LDS Pesega College team which he captained during the School of Origin at the ACP Marist Stadium, Lotopa earlier this year.
His only fear is his fitness level and injuries but with rugby skills and techniques he is confident that he is well-prepared.
"The only challenge for me is my fitness level, I know sometimes I am out of breath. But to my understanding, in the sevens, it's all about being fit and having good discipline and mindset.
“And we always have to keep that in mind, having a positive mindset and good discipline it will take you places.”
He also acknowledged the hard work of the people who helped him throughout his rugby journey and made sure he was on the right path, especially Reverend Pita Toleafoa.
"I want to thank my coaches and everyone who helped me in developing my rugby career, especially our Church Minister, Reverend Pita Toleafoa.
“He always advised me to avoid hanging out with friends who would pressure me to do bad things, and moving forward with my rugby career I should always stay focused and commit to my training.”
Leitufia is ready to take on the challenge and believes in the universal sporting mantra “no pain no gain.”
He is willing to go the extra mile to make sure he reaches his ultimate goal of becoming a Manu Samoa player.