Reds eager to embrace Samoan experience
The Queensland Reds rugby team is ready to take on the Auckland Blues at the inaugural Super Rugby game this Friday evening at Apia Park, and win.
But that’s not all.
For those players visiting for the first time, they are also after the cultural experiences that Samoa can offer.
“It’s a hard game for us but we are fortunate to have a week’s preparation before the actual game; so we are ready,” said Reds Head Coach, Nick Stiles.
The team arrived early yesterday morning and were welcomed at the airport by Miss Samoa, Priscilla Olano and the Samoa Tourism Authority team.
Stiles said they are happy to be in Samoa.
“Most especially are the 10-12 Samoan players we have on our team.
“As a team we are all very excited to be here to embrace the Samoan culture. And of course we are here to get that hard-fought win to take back home,” added Stiles.
The team is here for two weeks and they definitely want to take back many cultural experiences of Samoa.
As well as playing in a special inaugural Super Rugby game they are also offering assistance to the Samoan rugby community.
“We are setting up some coaching clinics with the local footballers to give a little bit back.”
According to Stiles, seeing and working with young children who are passionate about rugby, is always an overwhelming feeling.
“To help them, learn a few tricks and have some fun with them; it’s fulfilling.
“On Wednesday, we will also go out into the community and we intend to take advantage of Samoa’s beautiful beaches,” he said.
Samoan-born, Henry Taefu is thankful to be back in his country, where he said he first played rugby with his cousins and classmates at Falelatai, Si'ufaga.
The 24-year-old is married, with a beautiful one-year-old daughter.
“The opportunity to come home doesn’t come very often,” he noted.
“This trip is not only important to my team but also to my family, because this is where I was born.”
From Samatau and Falelatai Si’ufaga, Henry started playing rugby when he was attending Si’ufaga Primary with his classmates and cousins. Now playing centre for the Reds, Henry is the son of Ramuta Tai’i and Sanele Taefu, who left for Samoa when he was in Year 4.
“So coming back as a part of a rugby team, is something I am thankful for.” Henry intends to visit his grandparents sometime this week on their day off.
Meanwhile Reds rugby star, Quade Cooper, is surprised to learn that he has fans in Samoa.
“I didn't know I had fans here, but I am looking forward to meeting them.
“I want to be get involved in the community here and I am looking forward to seeing the country.”
It’s Cooper’s first time in Samoa and he’s keen to savour the experience.
“I am super excited to be in Samoa. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful country.”
Cooper who was brought up in New Zealand said a lot of his friends are Samoan.
“I want to immerse myself into their culture and get a better understanding of life in Samoa.
“And of course, win the game while I’m here,” he said.