There were few reasons for celebration on Saturday on the Tongan side. William Havili is one. Encounter.
Among the 23 Tonguans lined up at La Beaujoire for the opening of their World Cup, four specimens attracted a little more attention to themselves: Vaea Fifita, Charles Piutau, Augustine Pulu and Malakai Fekitoa, ex-All Blacks, were all subjects of curiosity what reasons to hope. Their presence did not, far from it, have the desired effect. The first two, however, showed some brilliance, with great activity rewarded by a try for number 8 and two school overflow shots for the rear. In the painful evening experienced by the Ikale Tahi, who left Nantes with their most severe defeat in the World Cup in twenty years, the brother of a current All Black stood out: William Havili (25 years old), Willy for the intimates. “I’m from Motueka, a small town in New Zealand, he introduced himself to us. My father is Tongan and played at a good level, my mother is Kiwi and my brother plays for New Zealand in this World Cup.
Twenty-four hours after seeing his eldest score his first try in the event, William Havili showed off his left foot and an interesting individual technique at the helm of the Tongan collective. His 100% against the poles allowed the Pacific players to keep up appearances for fifty minutes. The person concerned appreciated the opportunity and the lecture course: “It will stay for a good while. It was my first match in the World Cup. I had never played in such an atmosphere. I had never faced such adversity either. The only teams in Tier 1 that I had faced Japan and England. There, they were the world number 1. In terms of pace, it was fine but the physical dimension is completely different from what I am used to.”
“France? Why not, yes…”
For two years, David’s little brother has worn the colors of Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby. His emergence allowed him to join the selection in the summer of 2022. Where he can express himself in his favorite position: “I play fullback with Moana, but I see myself as a flyhalf. That’s where I flourish more. In the national team, I also have the opportunity to score. At club, I’m only the second option.” In his apprenticeship, Willy Havili had the privilege of competing against the legend Sexton: “I was in primary school when he was already playing in a World Cup, he laughs. He’s an incredible champion.” A candidate for the supreme title. Like his big brother: “New Zealand is my second team, you will easily understand that. I will support them until the end.”
For the Tongan number 10, the French adventure is likely to end at the end of the group stages. But who knows if the future will not lead him to return to France? “Land a contract in France? Why not, yes, that would be great. The atmosphere, the culture, everything seems great. But it seems far away to me.” Since Saturday, the native of Motueka has at least made a first name for himself