Malakai Fekitoa has said that the All Blacks changed his life, but he wants to “contribute something great” to his homeland Tonga ahead of his debut this weekend.
The Wasps centre will represent Tonga in next weekend’s final Olympic sevens qualification tournament in Monaco, four years after he won the last of his 24 All Blacks caps. This will make him eligible for Tonga at Test level should he play at least 50 percent of their matches at the event this weekend.
Fekitoa spent the first 17 years of his life in Tonga before moving to New Zealand, but said on social media this week that he “dreamed of being an All Black” as a child, and representing New Zealand was “one of the most important achievements of my life.”
The World Cup winner also said that “life passes very fast” and he does not want to miss the opportunity “to contribute something great to Tonga, my country, my homeland and where my heart belongs.”
Fekitoa is one of four former New Zealand or Australia internationals that are hoping to switch allegiance to Tonga this weekend, which will be a major boost to the nation.
“Four years ago I played my last match with the All Blacks and I still remember like it was yesterday,” the 29-year-old posted online.
“New Zealand and the All Blacks gave me many opportunities, incredible experiences, changed my life and got me to the place I am today. As a child I dreamed of being All Black, at that time I was in Haʻapai (Tonga) and it seemed like an unattainable dream and achieving that was one of the most important achievements of my life.
“I am very proud to have been a part of the best team in the world but at the same time I want to contribute something great to Tonga, my country, my homeland and where my heart belongs.
“The time to do it has come, life passes very fast, and I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. I want to be able to inspire others, the way I was as a child, to give back to those who inspired me.
“I am very fortunate to play alongside my brother and uncle and represent the country where I was born.
“I would like to thank every person that I have met along the way, who has helped me, who has contributed in my life and who has made my journey more enjoyable and pleasant.
“Rugby is my life, my reason of being and as long as I am practicing this sport, there is nothing that can stop me from continuing to advance and grow as a person.”
View this post on Instagram