Thursday, June 19, 2014


"My father is my biggest influence for me to pursue rugby.
He always believed that women should have a place in the game,
and helped the women's rugby profile in Hong Kong."

is no ordinary woman.
She tackles, dives on the field to score a try
and shows the world that RUGBY ain't just for men!

Sam lives by these words:
"Always do the best that you can,
in all the ways you can, to all the people you can."
I have supported my husband as he joined several rugby clubs here in Hong Kong and that means, I have witnessed him get down and get dirty. My knowledge of the sport is not that much but one thing's clear to me, the excitement that it brings to the audience is magnified with the intensity of how a player would die to score a try. It is a scary sport and I am in awe with those women who can actually meet the standards to be called a "rugger".

That's basically what it's all about.

So this time, in the name of woman empowerment combined with proving that dreams do come true, let me introduce a good friend of mine who had made it happen in a land where culture says pink and dolls are for girls and blue and trucks are for boys.


Sam with her dad

Sam, as she is commonly called, was born in Hong Kong of a father who's half Tongan and the other half of New Zealand roots. On the other hand, her mom is half Filipino and half Turkish. With all of these strong blood lines, the calling for Sam in becoming a promising Rugby Player started as early as when she was 14 years old.

Seeing her father, brother and cousin get fond of the sport, she developed a special connection to it as she literally grew up in a Rugby environment where the boys were involved in mini-Rugby leagues. They also ended up playing for a club called Valley RFC here in Hong Kong. She gets to tag along but she would just sit back and watch, supporting her family from the benches. When the Valley opened the path in 1994 to interested women, Sam stood up, went to training and started her career in Rugby.

She went to South Island, Hong Kong for secondary schooling and had studied
in University of Waikato, New Zealand and University of Hong Kong to finish school. Because of such time spent in New Zealand, the New Zealand Blacks had become her favourite Rugby team. She considers that Rugby had helped her make it thru college by being able to exercise the importance of team work, camaraderie, perseverance, flexibility and patience. Up until now, she imparts these values to her students as she teaches primary school at the present.  


For Sam, the sport had taught her a lot in life. She finds any team sports, in fact, a ground where you could learn how to work together. Respect for each of the team player's capacity, knowledge of the role that they have to stand up for and the passion in making it happen are the key factors to win. But she knew that all of these would be meaningless if they don't choose to work along and if they don't trust each other. 

Hong Kong 7's Women's Team of 2012
They may have cute smiles but they are scrum queens.

Her family is Sam's best team where they allow Sam to be her true self as she embraces Rugby and excels in it. They respect her decision in choosing to be extraordinary with where her passion leads her to. That way, she is able to achieve a lot. 

Asian Games 2010
Sam rummaging against 3 Thai women
Some of Sam's awards besides the prestigious Player of the Year 2013 are the following:



WOMEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR - HK LEAGUE - Hong Kong Rugby Footbal Union


In addition, her team (RFC Valley) holds 4 consecutive 15' Grand Championship wins and are 15's Women's League Winners for 4 consecutive times as well.

Sam undoubtedly gives her all once she's set to a goal. She makes a motivation out of the fear that she feels in dealing with failure. She hates disappointing others and this serves as her trampoline in achieving grand results. Rugby influenced her life so much in a way that as she gets thru play by play alongside her teammates, she finds life's lessons similar to the lessons that she needs to survive in every game. Dedication, hard work, and respect. According to this powerful athlete, she owes her success and achievements to the people around her who believed and supported all the way on and off field. Her coaches who had taught her of what she knows, the team mates that had assisted her in scoring tries and her family and friends who had never judged her of considering Rugby as the sport dearest to her.

But there's no greater achievement than finding your better half who's as passionate as you are, doing the same thing and being the one who pushes you to the top when you are on the verge of giving up. Her husband, Wesley Feausi keeps up with the bruises, black eyes and complaints of feeling sore and had never ever made her feel inferior or that she should give Rugby up. She acknowledges him in a sense that without him, no success and achievements are worth remembering without his support.

There are challenges in between where they had to meet up in an important Championship final match as Wesley coaches the team that (South China Causeway Bay Phoenix) had to play against Sam's team (Tradition Valley Black Ladies) at one point. But the Valley Ladies were unstoppable in tackling their way to winning the cup.

There's no stopping the Valley ladies.
Sam not letting anybody get in her way.

At the end of the day, a congratulatory massage awaits by Wesley and they continue being courageous in doing what they do best - remaining as beasts on the field.

In all its glory, there is also a price to pay. I asked Sam of the greatest blow she had encountered playing Rugby and she named "injuries" as the greatest threat there ever was to her career. She had a knee injury that required surgery. She was devastated when she heard that the healing process needed 2 years and that she wouldn't be able to play after reaching the height of her career. Little did she know that it was a blessing in disguise. Eventually, it became an opportunity for her to coach and learn a new set of skills. Now, she can coach and play at the same time. She remained focused in upgrading herself positively, getting reinforced from the negative experience coming back vibrant and refreshed.

Her plan towards the future is to go back to her playing days well recuperated to serve the RFC Valley still and to contribute to as much goals the team had set, not only in winning but also in developing other talented ladies. She believes that whatever achievement you gain, you should always stay humble enought to look back from where and how you began. On that note, she would make an effort to gain the necessary skills on a coaching level to be able to support the RFC Valley Team into its advancement. Guiding girls in pursuing their dream of being a scrum queen makes an appeal to her and she is more than glad to share what the sport had taught her.


I have met Sam during an annual celebration of the Samoan Independence Day here in Hong Kong and it was an honor to get to know the sweet gal in her. She and her husband had become good friends and sometimes it makes me hard to distinguish that this actual lady is as fierce as any other men when playing Rugby because of her natural grace and charm. Both our husbands are Samoans and we both own a Filipino heritage. Here are some of Sam's favorites that you may find the same as yours. She may be an extraordinary gal but that doesn't mean there's no tinge of the fun, spontaneous woman inside.

1. FAVORITE HOBBY: Travelling


3. FAVORITE SPORT (besides RUGBY): Volleyball

4. FAVORITE FOOD: Roast Lamb




"If we all take an eye for an eye, the whole world will be blind" - Ghandi

8. FAVORITE PLACE: Tekapo, New Zealand

9. FAVORITE BOOK: Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

10. FAVORITE MOVIE: Fifth Element

For all of the Rugby fans/students/aspiring women rugby athletes/girls and women alike, Sam shares this advice:  

"Set yourself goals, and do all you can to achieve those goals.
Never think you are the best at what you do.
Stay humble and always be willing to learn and take advice.
When you have achieved what you wanted,
don’t forget where you started and give back."

Related posts:

1. ARIEL REONAL - A Filipino making it to Ms. Saigon
2. ELA LISONDRA - A Filipino making her debut as a theatre performer in the West End.
3. HOMEBAKERS TURNED ENTREPRENEURS - Check these ladies and their cakes.

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