Former Ikale Tahi rugby player, Siosiua Lavamofaoa Afu, is no stranger to the international rugby scene. With experience since age 15, he has managed to earn his place in the competitive sport by consistently growing amongst worldwide teams– not only in his home country, Australia, but also in England, France, Japan, and Tonga. Afu made his debut for Ikale Tahi in 2008 at the World Cup. The second row player has competed alongside great company such as Carl Hayman of the New Zealand Allblacks and Tane Tu’ipulotu of the Newcastle Falcons in New England. Afu is currently in Japan continuing his sports career as a Kamaishi Seawaves player. TWID takes a closer look at his journey.
TWID: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment in your athletic career thus far?
AFU: At the moment it’s playing for Tonga. It was massive for me after the 2007 World Cup and pushing the big teams. It showed me the difference between playing for Tonga and a big nation like Australia. There are a lot of resources in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and England as opposed to Tonga. There was struggle, but it made us come together. There is a difference in playing for Tonga because there is a passion– when we put that jersey on, we put everything on the line for Tonga– and because of the struggles we’ve gone through to get to that point. Playing for Tonga has made me grasp and understand the culture a lot more. It’s a feeling you can’t and won’t experience anywhere else.
TWID: In regards to your training, what are the keys to your success?
AFU: For me, I’m just starting to learn the importance of a diet.
TWID: What would be your ultimate achievement?
AFU: Short term: It would be a great achievement to play for Tonga again at the World Cup next year. There are a lot of awesome Tongan players that will be fighting for the same spot. Long term: I would like to set myself up financially and figure out what I want to do, post rugby. I’m trying to do the best that I can for myself, my future family, and also help my parents out.
TWID: How do you set your goals?
AFU: It’s mostly little goals, day-to-day goals. If there’s a certain weight I need to be at or a certain weight I need to lift, I’ll try to hit the target in that specific day or week. There are long term goals too, but I focus on the day-to-day ones to get to the long term ones.
TWID: What is your biggest challenge and what do you do to manage this challenge?
AFU: My biggest challenge is myself. I know my weaknesses and sometimes it’s a good thing or a bad thing. The way I manage it is setting the goals I have day-to-day. Sometimes I’m tired in the gym and know what to do to manage it. Other times I want to cut corners, but I know if I do, someone else will be 5 or 10 meters ahead of me.
TWID: What was the best advice you were ever given?
AFU: Never forget where you’re from; never forget the Lord. I’ve been through a few struggles and have been to different countries and experienced a lot of things, both personal and professional. It’s gotten me to where I am now. I’m happily engaged to be married and really looking forward to it. It takes my mind off rugby so it’s a good balance.
TWID: Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
AFU: There is one bible verse I’ve always used and have it written on my white wrist band along with my mom and dad’s name on my left hand when I play: Filipai Ko e Vahe 4:13 ‘Oku ou mafeia ‘a e me’a kotoa pe ‘iate ia ‘oku ne fakakaukaua au. (Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.)
TWID: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
AFU: My parents and family. I’ve seen what they have struggled with growing up and it’s always been the reason why I wanted to do this.
Mr. Afu has endured much since the start of his career. Leaving Australia at a young age to pursue a life-long dream allowed him to gain valuable wisdom about himself and the game in the context of the world at large. It also gave him an opportunity to reach his potential, which can be a challenge at times–especially as a Tongan. We have learned that Afu has no regrets–just lessons learned and progression towards a greater future– and that is most definitely What. It. Do.
Article Written By: Sina Uipi