Move from Samoa to Kirkcaldy opens doors for rugby ace

Sasa Tofilau. GHK v Kirkcaldy, BT Cup Round 2, 30th January 2016. (Photo by Michael Booth)
Sasa Tofilau. GHK v Kirkcaldy, BT Cup Round 2, 30th January 2016. (Photo by Michael Booth)
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Back in October, aspiring rugby star Sasa Tofilau was surprised to receive an approach from a fellow Samoan offering him the chance to play in Scotland.

Six months on, his decision to take up the offer looks set to pay dividends with the possibility of a professional contract, and international caps, now on the horizon.

Tofilau was convinced to move thousands of miles across the world by his fellow countryman, Kirkcaldy player-coach Quintan Sanft, who used his contacts back home to unearth a potential gem.

The 20-year-old has hugely impressed with some storming performances at Beveridge Park, and is now firmly on the radar of Edinburgh Rugby, as well as the Samoan national team.

“It came completely out of the blue, I’d never met Quinny until I got here,” Tofilau told the Press. “I didn’t think there were many Samoans in Kirkcaldy.

“Quinny told me that he’d been at the club for over 10 years, and that the club meant a lot to him, and had done a lot for him as well.

“He’s established here – this is where he met his wife and he’s got three girls – so it looked like it would be a great opportunity for me.

“I’d just finished playing under 20s and had nothing on at that time, so it was perfect timing.

“I just saw it as a new experience, a chance to embrace a new culture, learn a few things and make new friends – which I’ve gained in the six months I’ve been here. It’s been awesome.”

Tofilau has been living in Kennoway with Kirkcaldy team mate Mark Henderson and has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from the club.

“My first impression was that it was cold,” he said. “I even saw snow for the first time. The standard of rugby is definitely good. I like to call it jungle rugby – just everyone all over the place.

“The club has been really good to me and provided an opportunity for me to play rugby every Saturday and train twice a week.

“It makes it easier for me to play my own game when I have good players around me. The boys lay a solid foundation for me to express myself and my game.”

Tofilau was a relative latecomer to the sport having played rugby league up until the age of 17. Last year he turned out for Melbourne Rising, a feeder team for the Super 15s.

However, his move to Kirkcaldy has showcased his potential and provided Tofilau with the possibility of a move into pro rugby.

He has been invited to train with Edinburgh, and featured in a trial match for the ‘A’ side against Scotland U20s recently, producing a stand-out performance.

He was subsequently stripped by the Murrayfield club at the Melrose Sevens earlier this month, and even scored the tournament winning try in the final.

Signing talks are now taking place, and providing the necessary visa paperwork can be obtained, Tofilau could be starring in the Guiness Pro 12 next season.

“Edinburgh are definitely interested,” he said. “I’ve proved myself in training and in games and they’ve seen me playing at Kirkcaldy as well.

“I haven’t signed anything yet, but should do if I follow through with what I need to get.”

In addition, Tofilau is hopeful of winning his first cap for Samoa this summer after being recommended for trials by Sanft,a former Samoan international.

“It’s been a dream for myself to play for my country, and I’m blessed that I’ve come to Kirkcaldy and been in the right place at the right time,” Tofilau added.