Siale Lauaki playing for St Pat’s Town (2020). For the second consecutive year in 2021, he made the New Zealand Secondary Schools squad.
- By Adam Julian
“I would have been happy with the rugby one, but I’m shocked to get the big one. It still hasn’t sunk in,” Siale Lauaki said when reflecting on being named College Sport Wellington Sportsman of the Year last Wednesday.
The Year 13 at St Patrick’s College, Wellington (Town) was the only Wellington based player selected in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ rugby team, the prop retaining his place from a year before and joining fellow Old Boys Jerry Collins (1997) and Gerrard Fasavalu (1999) as a rugby winner of College Sport Wellington’s supreme award.
“I found out after school prize giving. I was taken to the office where I met David Fa’atafa from College Sport Wellington. I didn’t know what to say, but they made me do a short video.
“It’s pretty buzzy looking at some of the names on the trophy. Jerry Collins man”
Lauaki has been a main man in the St Pats First XV since 2019. A dynamic tighthead prop he’s been mentored by former Manu Samoa international and coach Kas Lealamanua.
“He’s taught me to nail my core roles and backed me to tackle and run hard. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the support of the coaches and my parents.”
Town made the semi-finals of the Premiership this year where they were beaten by eventual champions Scots College (34-17). Their best performance was a 50-point slaying of Rongotai College.
“We didn’t achieve the result we wanted this year. We had some tough losses but we learned a lot and had a good culture.”
Strength of culture was most needed when dealing with off field tragedy. Xavier Reidy and Tom Walsh, members of the 2019 First XV, tragically died.
“That took a toll on the boys but it helped us appreciate the little things more. We checked up on each other more than usual and we were more forgiving of mistakes.”
Lauaki is a member of the Wellington Rugby Academy and will have little room for error when he joins Jubilee Cup champions Tawa for the 2022 season.
“I live in Cannons Creek, so I have decided to keep it local. Tawa has good coaches and I’m excited to be going to a club with Wellington Lions like PJ Sheck.”
TJ Va’a (2014) and All Blacks TJ Perenara (2010) and Victor Vito (2004) are other rugby players to win the supreme award.