Samoa pay tribute to ‘true legend’ as former captain dies

Patrick McCarry
Samoa pay tribute to ‘true legend’ as former captain dies
Samoa pay tribute to ‘true legend’ as former captain dies

The samoan team has paid tribute to former captain Peter ‘Fats’ Fatialofa who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 54.

‘Fats’ — full name Papaliitele Leasiosiofaasisina Niumata Pita Momoe Fatialofa — made 34 caps for Samoa and played for both Ponsonby and Auckland in New Zealand.

The prop made his Test debut in 1988 against Ireland at Lansdowne Road. The Irish team, led by Philip Matthews and inspired by winger Keith Crossan, beat the visitors 49 — 22 that day.

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Fatialofa’s moment of triumph as a rugby player arrived at the 1991 World Cup when [Western] Samoa defeated a Wales team, which featured Ieuan Evans and Scott Gibbs, 16 — 13 in Cardiff. The country made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Scotland at Murrayfield.

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Fatialofa retired from the game in 1996 and set up a moving company called ‘Fats Enterprises’. As part of the company’s advertising push, it boasted that ‘Fats’ could move a piano single-handedly. He returned to Samoa in 2012 and was respective coach and assistant coach of Samoa’s Women’s and Sevens teams.

Manu Samoa paid tribute to Fatialofa today on their official Facebook page. Samoa’s chief executive, Fred Amoa commented: “Papaliitele’s devotion to rugby was and will continue to be an example of strong patriotism for all of us. In this hour of deep sorrow, we wish his wife and children strength and fortitude.”

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