Hard work pays off for new cap Leicester Fainga'anuku

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"It's been a bizarre few hours, watching the TV as a team. I didn't quite catch my name until the boys started congratulating me. That's when I realised I must be in," he said.


"It's something you don't really hear quite often and very few get the opportunity to be named in the ABs squad and for me I'm truly grateful and blessed to get the opportunity to be able to get selected and I understand the opportunity I get to be able to grow my game alongside some of the best players in this country," he said.


His phone had been very active with messages from families, friends, school teachers, principals, everyone who had been part of his life.


"That's what makes it special to be selected in the squad and to understand the amount of support and belief people have had in me since the day I picked up a footy ball.


"I'm not only doing this for myself and family, but those who believed in me," he said.


Selection had been a shock, he said.



Every year he had focused on his game and growing in the areas he needed to improve while also enjoying doing what he loved every day. Being selected was something he was cherishing, he said.


At the same time he said he felt for those who were not lucky in life due to disabilities or unfortunate circumstances, who might not get the opportunities he had enjoyed.


He didn't have much time to bask in the moment as the Crusaders got into their week's preparation for Saturday's DHL Super Rugby Pacific final against the Blues in Auckland.


Fainga'anuku said he tried to be consistent every year in his rugby. He enjoyed learning from the quality players around him and putting those points into his game.


There weren't particular key areas he aimed for. It was a case of seeking consistency and trying to show strengths in all areas of his game.


"That's breakdowns, ball carry, aerial game, whatever it is, and I always try to focus on showing strength in all areas and finding out if there are weaknesses or work-ons which is something I try to take on board," he said.


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