The hooker, whose first-class career spanned 19 years, holds the records for the most games (106) and tries (46) for Auckland, winning 15 national titles.
When she retired from international rugby in 2018, she was the most capped Black Fern of all-time with 58 Tests (since surpassed by Kendra Cocksedge) - holding the record for most wins (50), Tests captained (35), tries by a forward (17) and World Cup wins (4).
“I found out a couple of months ago I was going to be in the Hall. The letter said, confidential so I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone and that was hard. I didn’t know how to feel. You play the game because you love it. To be acknowledged like this is massive,” Fa'amausili said.
Three minutes in a 36-3 win against Australia at the 2002 World Cup was the length of her Test debut. In fact, in the first five years of her career Fa'amausili hardly got a chance, stuck behind Farah Palmer who captained the Black Ferns to 29 wins in 30 Tests.
Palmer retired in 2006 but it wasn’t until 2012 that Fa'amausili became Black Ferns captain after initially turning down the job. In her first series they were swept 3-0 by England.
In 2017 the Black Ferns were beaten by England in Rotorua. How did the Black Ferns bridge the gap two months later to win the World Cup final against an imposing English pack in Belfast?
“You’ve got to bring that mongrel attitude, put up a brick wall. You either win or learn. Losses are hard to take but they make you grow as a team,” Fa'amausili responded.
“I loved the contact, the pick and go, that greedy hooker at the back of the maul getting the tries. That’s pretty said, yeah, but that’s how it is. The forwards are the foundation of the game.
“I’m sure both teams have studied each other’s tactics and prepared thoroughly. I’ve watched the Black Ferns since game one and they’ve picked up every game which is exciting and reason to believe.”
Fa'amausili said the 2017 World Cup win has “contributed a lot to my everyday life now” being “more recognised for a good thing” and helping inspire young girls to want to become Black Ferns. She is impressed by current co-captain Ruahei Demant.
“I’ve congratulated her and my advice to her was to lead by actions rather than words. Say what needs to be said because otherwise talk is cheap. If you lead by actions the rest will follow.”
Fa’amausili is exposed to the toughest of situations in her role in the police. How has her background fighting crime and serving her community helped her rugby success?
“The same standards in the police are the same standards you should strive for in rugby. It’s about being professional, acting with integrity, empathy, diversity and building a family, a sense of belonging,” she responded.
Deborah Griffin, Alice Cooper, Sue Dorrington, and Mary Forsyth are English women who organised the inaugural World Cup despite no official support in 1991. The quartet joined Fa’amausili in the 2022 Hall of Fame class.
“If it wasn’t for those ladies we wouldn’t be here today. It’s massive to have them in New Zealand. They established the platform.”
The Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park on Saturday 12 November is sold out. Fans can watch live on Three New Zealand or Spark Sport from 7pm.