From a rugby stadium to road construction foreman
The Vaipuna Road in Apia is a long way from the Welford Road Stadium in Leicester, England where Anitelea Tuilagi plied his craft as a top rugby player for the British club Leicester Tigers.
But those days are long gone for the former Manu Samoa international, as he sets his eyes on the road maintenance project as a Foreman with the local company, Silva Transport Limited.
"This is a busy road due to blocking of the shortcut from Matautu but the road seems dangerous. We will be clearing out this road and trying to fix the potholes. Most importantly this road cannot cater for the container trucks," Mr. Tuilagi said.
And while his job as a Foreman at a road project site in Samoa has no similarities to the earlier chapter of his life as a professional rugby player, he is of the view that the qualities needed to get the job done are very much the same.
"For rugby, it is a must for a player to be committed during training, be able to connect with the other players. I must say the same thing applies here, it's all about teamwork," he said.
Many people in Samoa look down on the employees of construction companies working to fix the road, according to Mr. Tuilagi.
"The other day we were doing some work on the road, and trying to clear out fallen trees, and these cars just came speeding without even seeing these men doing their job," he said.
"Playing on the field for 13 years is a little different from standing on the sideline and seeing these people work so hard, working on the road is harder than being a rugby player.”
Mr. Tuilagi said he is always disappointed to see people not acknowledging the work of road construction workers, but he knows there is nothing he can do about it.
As a professional rugby player, he played for Leicester Tigers, Leeds and Yorkshire Carnegie in the U.K. in a 13-year career and is part of Samoa’s famous Tuilagi rugby dynasty from Savai’i.
His rugby playing family includes older brothers Henry, Freddie and Alesana and younger siblings Vavae and Manu.