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Sam Matavesi on his late dad's passing in World Cup quarter-final week

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Sam Matavesi has spoken about last month’s remarkable week where he flew from France to England to be with his father Sireli before he passed away and then returned across the Channel to play an inspiring part in Fiji’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final appearance.

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The Northampton hooker helped his country to give England a real scare in Marseille, the Pacific Islanders pulling level at 24-all near the end before Steve Borthwick’s team advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of two late Owen Farrell kicks.

Matavesi is now back in Gallagher Premiership action with the Saints and was the scorer of a fantastic team try in their defeat at Leicester last Saturday.

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He has since spoken to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo to reflect on his World Cup experience and that quarter-final week where family came first.

“The week of the quarter-final I got news that I needed to come home because my dad was very ill, pretty much on his death bed, so I came back for a day and was with dad when he passed away,” said Matavesi to reporter Tim Vickers.

“I then went straight back up to France, literally straight into training, did some lineouts, sat on a bike, next day team run and then played Sunday and was back home Monday evening.

“It was good because my head was there and I could focus on England but then when you finish there you come down pretty quickly.

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“Everyone’s been incredible. The club have been incredible, friends, family. It was key to get those things sorted back home and then get back here and get into it.”

There was never any doubt that Matavesi would feature versus England, and he learned via his brothers that was exactly what his father wanted him to do.

“I was coming from France and my dad was chatting to my brothers, Josh and Joel, at the time and telling them to tell me to stay in France because he didn’t want to ruin my rugby.

“I was always coming back but he wanted me to play. When we got together at the hospital in Treliske in Cornwall, I said I was going to play and my family all said my dad wanted me to play and they wanted me to play.

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“But I didn’t know they were all going to come out to France as well so we all got the same flight and they presented me with my shirt, which I didn’t know about, and they were there for the game, which was amazing.”

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Eabn 8 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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