Meet Fui­fui Moimoi

The Toronto Wolf­pack, led by the Tonga na­tive Fui­fui Moimoi and cap­tain Craig Hall, is the world’s first transat­lantic pro­fes­sional rugby team. The team plays its first home game of the sea­son at the Den (a.k.a. Lam­port Sta­dium) on May 6 after start­ing th

North York Post - - News - by Ron John­son

Fui­fui Moimoi strikes an im­pos­ing fig­ure on the rugby pitch. The 37year-old Tonga na­tive has been play­ing pro­fes­sional rugby for 15 years along with rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try at the World Cup. He is one of many stand­outs on the new Toronto Wolf­pack squad that is rack­ing up the wins in dom­i­nat­ing fash­ion dur­ing their in­au­gu­ral sea­son, which be­gan in Eng­land a cou­ple months ago, in­clud­ing a 76 to 0 win in the first league match. The team re­turns to its home pitch Lam­port Sta­dium to play its first home­town match ver­sus Ox­ford RLFC. Post City spoke to Moimoi from the train­ing pitch in Eng­land.

First, tell me how you pro­nounce your name.

Umm, Foo-e Foo-e Mo-e Mo-e, but ev­ery­one just calls me Fui.

Does the name hold any sig­nif­i­cance?

To be hon­est, I don’t even know. It’s just a fam­ily name. Not sure. Back on the is­land, you are named after an un­cle or a grand­par­ent, but I’m not sure where it comes from.

Ap­par­ently, there are a lot of Cana­dian flags al­ready fly­ing in the stands in Eng­land?

Yeah. I saw a heap of Cana­dian fans, and they were so ex­cited. I couldn’t be­lieve they were gear­ing up for their home game. Like I said, Toronto is a home game, and that’s where our home is. We haven’t been there, yet, but my­self and the rest of the squad and the coach­ing staff are so ex­cited to get there next week.

What are you most look­ing for­ward to?

Ob­vi­ously, I’m look­ing for­ward to meet­ing the fans — some have been trav­el­ling here to come watch the game — but also I’ve never been to Toronto so I want to check out what it’s like.

What were you think­ing when you found out a Cana­dian team wanted you to play rugby for them?

I was very ex­cited when I found that out. I got a call from the coach about the team in Canada. Ob­vi­ously, I know our roles and that made it sit eas­ier for me to make a de­ci­sion. I’m very ex­cited for the chal­lenge.

You’ve been suc­cess­ful as a team straight away. Why?

It’s tough mate, it’s very hard. We have a good coach­ing and train­ing staff, and we’re train­ing ev­ery day and work­ing on the lit­tle things to get things right in the game. We just work hard ev­ery day.

And what makes you such an im­pact­ful player?

I just worry about my own game, what I’m do­ing best for the team. Ob­vi­ously, my job is to get for­ward so that the backs can come in and score. I just worry about my own game and do the lit­tle things to help the team move for­ward.

What is your ca­reer high­light so far?

I’ve been play­ing for New Zealand, and Tonga in the World Cup, but play­ing for Canada and at this level is one of the high­lights for me. Hope­fully we are go­ing to be get­ting stronger and be a big con­tender.

We don’t know much about this level of rugby over here. What can we ex­pect?

You guys will see how hard this game is when we come over, the phys­i­cal game we play. We’ll be great over there. It will be good for the fans. Ob­vi­ously, it’s the first game back with our fans and we’re re­ally ex­cited.

When did you start play­ing?

Yeah, I was born in Tonga, and I moved to New Zealand when I was 16, 17 I started play­ing. And I got good enough to move to Aus­tralia, and that’s where my ca­reer started.

Did you play when you were grow­ing up?

We had rugby grow­ing up. My mates would watch rugby, but me, ev­ery time I go watch the rugby league back home, all those big boys run­ning straight into each other, I was kind a scared grow­ing up, to be hon­est.

What do you love about it?

Just that it’s ag­gres­sive and ev­ery po­si­tion you’re play­ing ev­ery­one tries to be bet­ter than you. When you take it on the field, you know, it’s fun. You get hit, you get tack­led, and some­times you hurt your­self. And you get up and go back to war again.

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