That’s Orene Ai’i, sporting some truly spectacular jocks right there.
I’ll continue the Odyssey, I promise, all three parts of it, but I thought I’d write this little anecdote from my game today before I forget it in a haze of 5am starts.
There was a fight. One player hit another, the other player retaliated, they both got sent off.
The mother of the boy who retaliated was very upset, and in true Samoan matriarch fashion, she was going to let me know about it. In a rant that was startlingly polite and lasted the entire second half, she let me know that my calls had made her sad.
After the game, she asked me to explain my decision, and I told her what I had seen and that at U15 level a strike to the head was an automatic red card – even if he hadn’t started it. She accepted this calmly and politely, which was a bit odd considering the serve she’d given me.
But Mum was wanting to make sure that I truly understood her son was not the kind who made trouble.
“He is not like that, he is such like a girl, he is gentle.
“I am sorry I get so upset, but my son, he is the girl of the house, I get so worried when I see him hurt.”
Fafa’fine and playing rugby? Good on that kid!
(Reminder, I’m in the last 10 days of my pledgeme drive, and I’m still travelling to Aussie dressed like a normal person)