Victorians Siotame Kavapalu and Moli Sooaemalelagi have both been selected for the upcoming Australian Schools Tour of Fiji and New Zealand in September.
Born in Tonga, Siotame Kavapalu started playing rugby for Box Hill when he was just 8 years old, before moving to his current club Endeavour Hills.
He credits his recent success to the unwavering support of his family, which includes 3 brothers David, Eneasi and Ngalu, and 1 sister Matelita.
A passionate Rebels supporter, Siotame said it was difficult to contain his emotions after hearing of his selection.
“I was speechless, I could not believe it, I was just over the moon. Straight away I thought of my ‘old man’, he was there at my last game but had to leave early and drive back. His last words were that whatever the outcome was, he was very proud of me and he said I had made the whole family proud. Then when I got the call, I spoke to him right away and you could tell he was over the moon.
“He even started crying, thinking about all the hard work, time, money etc that goes into this. But he did remind me too, ‘it’s not over son, you need to keep pushing,” Siotame said.
Born in Christchurch, Moli Sooaemalelagi first attended Lalor North Secondary College before moving to Roxburgh Park Secondary College where he is currently in Year 12.
He started playing Rugby Union in 2004 for Northern Panthers Under 10’s and was soon selected to represent the Victorian Under 12 side.
Moli may have been a Crusader in his early years but said he happily jumped on board the Rebels ahead of the clubs inaugural season. He loves the physicality of Rugby Union and says that earning selection in the Australian Schools team was a very proud moment.
“I just felt so relieved, elated and excited to know that all of the hard work has paid off,” Sooaemalelagi said.
And he feels that the future of Rugby Union in Victoria is bright, with more and more players pushing for State and National selection in the future.
“I think there is definitely a lot of potential coming through the ranks, there are some very talented, hard working players throughout Victoria who could represent the Rebels one day soon. I really believe the future for Rugby Union here in Victoria is bright and hopefully the Rebels can win a few Titles in the years to come,” Sooaemalelagi said.
Kavapalu agrees and says that the key to success is hard work and commitment.
“There is a lot of talent, you just have to work hard and push through, when times are tough don’t give up, because it pays off in the end. We get a lot of help from the guys down at the Rebels who provide a lot of support during the season and pre season, without them I would not be playing. A big thanks to everyone involved in the Rebel Rugby program, the medical staff and everyone involved at the Rebels,” Kavapalu said.
The Australian Schoolboys touring party will travel to Fiji for two fixtures. They will meet the Fijian President’s XV in Nadi on 22 September before facing the Fijian Schools in Lautoka on 25 September.
The squad will then travel to New Zealand where it will face the New Zealand Barbarians in Auckland on 29 September. They will then play Samoan Schools in Hamilton on 2 October before returning to Auckland to take on the New Zealand Schools on 6 October to conclude the tour.
Current Wallaby stars Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper and David Pocock are all products of the Australian Schoolboys system.
Australian Schools Tour Squad 2012
Name Team School
Jack Dempsey NSW St Ignatius’ College
Lolo Fakaosilea QLD Brisbane Boys’ College
Andrew Ferris NSW The Kings School
Lolakai Foketi NSW The Kings School
Michael Gunn QLD Anglican Church Grammar Schools
Gareth Kalell QLD Brisbane Boys’ College
Siotame Kavapalu VIC Rowville Secondary College
Andrew Kellaway NSW The Scots College
Adam Korczyk QLD Brisbane State High
Jake McIntyre NSW Alstoneville High School
Tepai Meoroa NSW Newington College
Neori Nadruku ACT St Edmunds College
Matthew Philip NSW St Augustine's College
Jonah Placid QLD Toowoomba Grammar School
Aaron Pleash QLD Ipswich Grammar School
John Porch NSW Farar Memorial AHS
Angus Pulver NSW Shore School
Tomas Robertson NSW St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill
Andrew Robinson ACT St Mary Mackillop College
Harry Rorke NSW St Ignatius' College
Matt Sandell NSW St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill
Moli Sooaemalelagi VIC Roxburgh Park Secondary College
Tom Staniforth ACT Canberra Grammar School
Jim Stewart NSW The Scots College
Jack Tuttle QLD St Joseph's Nudgee College
Mitchell Whiteley NSW St Ignatius' College
Brad Wilkin QLD Iona College
Tom Wilson NSW Barker College
Coach Stephen Phillpotts
Asst coach Timothy Rapp
Manager Paul Geddes
Asst manager John Rownes
Doctor Michael McLean
Physio Will Maher
Technical asst Andy Clark
Strength and conditioning Darren Clunn