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