Young Sepulona hopes to crack the big time
A 19-year-old emerging rugby star from Savai'i, Des Sepulona, has big plans for the future.
A member of the extended Manu Samoa Sevens squad, the son of Sisavaii Faoa and Sepulona Seaina Pula of from Tuanai, Faleula, and Vaipu'a Savaii, caught the eye of national selectors while playing for Tama Uli from Salelologa during the Vodafone National Sevens Series.
The Observer Sports caught up with the youngster during a training session they had at Crossfit FatuToa on Tuesday.
"I am humbled and grateful for such an opportunity," he said.
"I will be doing my very best to show how much I care for this through my training and how I play on the field.
"I have always watched and followed Jerry Tuwai's journey, and he is one of my role models in rugby, in fact, I want to be just like him."
Sepulona said his goal is to make the final team because he wants to make his family proud.
"I started playing rugby at Tuanai Primary school then at Leulumoega Fou College until I was selected to play for the Ott Constructor Tama Uli, Salelologa in 2017.
"Rugby has always been my passion and I am ready to perform to the best of my ability. My only hope is that if ever I make it to the Manu Samoa's real squad then I will do my best to make my family, village, and country proud."
Although the future is uncertain in terms of tournaments, Sepulona said it is critical for players to maintain their fitness.
In the meantime, he encourages other young players to think positive and train hard.
"Throughout my whole life, I have always tried my best to be the best player that I can be. From Primary to College, I always try my best to lift my rugby career to the next level. Then joining into the Tama Uli franchise, I was selected to play either half-back or midfielder.
"With these two positions, I was able to spot the difference between the two positions. I only play as a midfielder when one of our players is injured but most of the games I'm always the half-back.
"Talents are God-given, so if rugby is their talent or their calling then they should work hard because God gives us talent but it is our responsibility to make sure that we work, develop and take it to another level. I have worked hard to get to where I am today, and if I can do it so can they," he said.
Sepulona is one of the seven players who was selected from the Tama Uli sevens squad.