Siblings Lote and Prince Lima said it means a lot to them to both be going to Malaysia in April to represent Samoa at the Touch World Cup.
Prince (21) will make his international debut at the tournament for the open men’s team, while Lote (30) is a veteran of the 2015 open women’s campaign where she first played for Samoa.
“That was pretty exciting, 2015 was a big year for me for touch,” Lote said.
She also played at the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea that year, something she hopes to do again.
After those campaigns, Lote came home and recruited her younger brother for a social one day tournament.
“I dragged this one along and he’s loved it ever since.”
Prince said he always liked rugby, and touch sort of takes his favourite parts of the sport.
“I guess I like how fast the game is.”
Seeing his sister’s successes in 2015 and enjoying his first experience with touch, Prince joined her club Glee for tournaments the next year.
Prince, who just graduated from university, said it was amazing to be chosen to play for Samoa for the first time.
“And to play with my sister, it’s really great.”
The pair always meet at Lote’s workplace, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, to go to trainings together.
Lote said it can be hard juggling work, touch and family, particularly with their two other brothers overseas.
“I’m at work and Prince at home has to kinda make sure everything’s ok before we go to training.”
But she said their parents are very supportive of their touch careers.
Lote has been playing since high school, and got back into the sport in 2011 after finishing university.
“When I was in high school I loved rugby, I always wanted to play,” she said.
She said they never had a girls’ team at school, so she played touch as it was the closest thing and ended up loving it.
Even as a veteran, Lote has had to relearn how to play touch all over again under Australian coach Geoff Hooper.
Prince said he has had a similar experience with the new mens’ coach Peter Shefford (also from Australia), who has been sending the team videos and things ahead of his first visit to Samoa for a pre-World Cup training camp.
“It’s all new stuff, we have to forget the stuff we’ve been taught.”
Both players said that was difficult, as the way they played before was what got them to the national team in the first place.
Lote said the way touch is usually played locally has gone out of style internationally.
“It’s hard when you’re playing, you wanna do things that you’re familiar with.
“You always have that play that is like your go-to if everything’s happening, but that one play is what our coaches don’t want us to do.”
She said it was a struggle for the players to change their mentality around the game, but it will really help the sport in Samoa in the long run.
For the same reason, Lote said Prince will benefit from playing against other countries rather than just local competition.
Prince wants to compete against those teams more often, like when Australian sides come over for tournaments in Samoa.
“That’s one of my goals, to beat those teams.
“I guess I want to go to another World Cup after this.”
Lote said she was really stoked to be selected for this World Cup, particularly with all the new young talent coming through on the women’s side.
“I think my role in the team is to try and help the younger ones.
“I’m 30, and I won’t be around touch for ages so I wanna make sure the sport is in good hands.”
She said it would mean even more to make the Pacific Games squad and compete in front of family in July.
“For me, I’m so happy I got selected for the World Cup, but my main goal is the Pacific Games.”
Lote said she wanted to go well after missing out on the gold medal last time.