Rugby World Cup: Against the All Blacks, Italy can rely on its two New Zealand teams

From the All Blacks… to the Italian XV.
Facing New Zealand on Friday night (9pm on TF1, MYTF1 and TF1info), Squadra Azzurra will be able to rely on players of New Zealand nationality.
Toa Halafihi and Hame Faiva are even willing to perform the haka to impress their opponent for one night.

All blacks in the ranks of the Italian XV. there Squadra Azzurra Challenge New Zealand this Friday (9pm live on TF1, MYTF1 And live commentary on TF1info), in the France group. To meet the challenge of exploitation of the men in black, Italy can count on its New Zealand citizens. Tua Halavihi and Ham Vaiva, both natives of this small country in Oceania, are on the Italian team’s fixture list. On the bench at kick-off, they should come in to try and play a nasty trick on their home country.

What if they performed the haka?

At 29 years old, the third-string midfielder and hooker is set for a special evening. Because whoever says black people are identical, says Hakka. Hami Faiva was involved a decade ago, when he wore the New Zealand Under-20 jersey during the World Junior Championships in 2013 and 2014. This time, he will stay on the 40-meter line at Parc OL Stadium, in Lyon, to watch. His (former) compatriots try to convince him.

“Performing the haka is an incredible feeling, you can’t describe it, and to see my friends from the All Blacks doing it, it will be an amazing experience.”, predicts the AFP bitch. They both imagine…achieving their goal. “Haka too, to answer them, just the two of us?”Toa Halavehi smiles. “We’ve talked about it. It’s going to be almost a challenge: haka versus haka will bring a little bit of electricity.”

Under the Italian shirt, the heart of New Zealand

The All Blacks Haka will be played without them. Because in recent years, both men have preferred to turn their backs on their native country to try their luck with Italy. However, both began their careers in the youth teams of New Zealand’s Waikato Chiefs, and then played in the domestic championship under the colors of the Wellington Hurricanes. Before that, in 2017, he tried a European adventure.

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Tua Halavihi, far from being confused by the meeting on Friday evening, made his first signing for Lyon, before moving to Italy in 2018, at Benetton Treviso. Hame Faiva had already joined the northern Italian club a year earlier. Their integration was greatly aided by their coach at the time, Kieran Crawley, also a New Zealander. But in 2021, the technician will take the reins of the Italian’s 15th car. A decision that will have dire consequences for both players.

Because in rugby, there are many rules that allow you to wear the colors of your choice, including when you do not have citizenship. Among them is the truth “I will stay for sixty consecutive months.” In a country, that is, five years (the period was three years until the last reform), we can read On the official rules. Once both men met that criterion, Kieran Crawley convinced them to defend the country’s colors in the boots. Hami Faiva therefore began his international career in the light blue jersey in November 2021, and Toa Halavihi joined him a few months later, during the 2022 Six Nations Championship, which France XV won.

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Now, Tua Halavihi and Ham Vaiva are well established in the Italian national team (21 caps between them), yet they remain deeply linked to their country of origin. “I play for Italy, but I still love the All Blacks because when I grew up they showed me what rugby was and made me love it.”The hooker, who has been back playing for New Zealand since 2022, admits. “My parents will support Italy and all my friends will support me and the All Blacks, 50-50!” It’s good for Italy that they gave 100% on Friday evening.

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