Rugby community mourns 'gentle giant'
Faasuaga Fanueli - known as Bucks to those closest to him - passed away on Saturday, throwing members of Samoa’s global rugby community around into mourning.
Faasuaga’s passing came after he suddenly collapsed at a rugby tournament at Marist St. Joseph’s Club.
Heartfelt tributes from the players whom Faasuaga had mentored, and commiserations from past and present members of teams he had worked with over the years flooded in on social media.
They remembered Fanueli as a caring individual who had a positive influence over the lives of the many players that were under his wing.
Former Manu Samoa Sevens representative and A’ana Chiefs player Afa Aiono said that Faasuaga was a humble man - which belied his large stature.
“He was a gentle giant, and was the kind of man that seldom said anything harsh or yelled at us when we lost a match. He will be sorely missed as he was one of the people that helped me along the way as a rugby player,” he said.
Fanueli was involved in the early development of the A’ana Chiefs rugby franchise as their first Super 9 Head Coach from 2017 until 2019.
He passed away as the current Head Coach of Falelauniu Rugby Club..
As a player, Faasuaga “Bucks” Fanueli played as a forward in the Apia Rugby Union, and was selected to play for the Manu Samoa As 15 squad during his playing days.
His humble conduct on and off the field made him an ideal candidate to be the skipper in most of the teams that he played for.