Vili Tolutau will never turn down a chance to play rugby, especially when it gives him a chance to travel, writes Robert Collias for mauinews.com.
So when Tolutau was tapped to play for the Asia Pacific Dragons in the World Tens Series — a new international, professional tournament to be held in Bermuda next month — he jumped at the chance.
“One of my old teammates from the Seattle Seawolves, he just set me up maybe like two weeks ago and asked me if I was interested in going to this tens tournament in Bermuda and I just told him ‘let’s do it,’ “ Tolutau said. “I gave my contact info to the Asia Pacific Dragons and we just hooked up the coaches for the selections.
“I guess they saw some game film and I got selected for it.”
The eight-team tournament in Bermuda will run from October 24th - November 7th. Tolutau will report to Bermuda for training on October 14th in a style of the game he has never played — traditional rugby is 15 players per side, while the Olympic version of the game uses seven players per team.
He is intrigued by the 10-players-per-side game.
“Usually there’s eight players in the scrum, but in tens there’s only five,” he said. “I usually play flanker, but they’ve been working me at hooker and in tens there is no flanker. So they have me out at hooker for this.”
He said a trip to Bermuda is a bonus.
“That’s why I’m excited for this because I’ve never been to Bermuda and every trip to a new place is always exciting,” Tolutau said. “I heard it’s a nice place to go diving, so I’m excited for that.”
He hopes to use his experience in Bermuda to prepare for the Seawolves season and another shot at the U.S. national team, which he has competed for a few times previously. His career was derailed a bit by a broken left fibula in 2019 that left a seven-inch rod and eight screws in his leg.
“I’m just trying to get back on my feet and back on that USA squad again,” Tolutau said. “I feel 100 percent healthy, but when I play in Seattle and it’s cold it kind of itches. Other than that – training-wise, running-wise — it doesn’t bother me anymore.”
“Just trying to get back into that squad, I think in about three years that World Cup will be coming, so my main goal is to do the small processes ones at a time,” he said. “To make the squad first and then from there make the World Cup team.”