Jesse Va’asfusuaga has relished his time here in Galwegians, becoming a key part in Galwegians AIL campaign at flanker as they fight for the title.

Residing from Mosgiel in southeastern New Zealand, Jesse found his love for rugby at the tender age of seven. Coming from a rugby family and taking after his father, Jesse would go to his games and watch on the sidelines. Jesse says this was the main reason he started to take rugby in the first place.

Starting in the junior ranks of tag rugby, Jesse quickly progressed through the grades and found himself playing tackle soon enough. He started to take the game more seriously in his schooldays at the age of seventeen and his passion for the game only expanded from there.

One of his most memorable moments from those days was making the Southland final with Otago Boy’s High School and his native club Green Island in 2020. “It was a pretty big achievement to get to the final and to play in such a big game”.

Jesse has proved to be an incredibly versatile player throughout his time with Galwegians, playing primarily as a blindside flanker but has also some experience operating as a number eight. Jesse highlighted his work rate as a key competency of his game. “I’m also more of an aggressive player and like my game’s ball-carrying side. That would be some of my best attributes as a player.”

After spending many years in New Zealand, Jesse was looking for a new challenge abroad and decided to take the plunge to come to Ireland. Having a friend in the city, he moved to Galway. “I thought I would come over to have another opportunity and to explore the world”.

“Galwegians has been great, everybody has been so welcoming. I’ve made a lot of new friends over here. I do like Galway but it rains a lot over here! The scenery here is nice along with the old buildings. It’s a different vibe to back home but I have been enjoying it”.

Jesse has been playing in the starting XV consistently lately and hasn’t found many problems adapting to the rugby played in the northern hemisphere, stating that the physicality is very similar to back home.

“There are a lot of big guys over here, so I’d say physically it’s similar. I would say the game is faster back home, and there are fewer set pieces but other than that I think the game is pretty similar”.

There is also the aspect of brotherhood, which is a key component to the rugby culture in New Zealand, applies in Ireland as well: “I would say it’s the same all over the world, without your team, you don’t have much at all”.

Jesse has found no problem forming such a bond with his current band of teammates and remarks about the welcoming nature of Galwegians.

“Adapting to a new dressing room has been fine. All the coaches, players, managers and all the people involved have been welcoming and helpful. It’s been easy to fit in and I have made some really good mates”.

Jesse looks forward to the challenge that lies ahead for the final stretch of the season. Despite the recent setbacks with the losses to Clogher Valley and Enniscorthy, he’s determined to get the job done for the Blues.

“I think we can still challenge for the title. At the end of the day, the main goal is to get promoted and the team and the coaches are doing everything they can to get there”.