In his job as a youth worker for Purena Koa Rehua Youth Services in Hastings, Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby flanker Tivaini Fomai has a message he repeats regularly.
"Never give up hope on dreams," Fomai is often heard telling teenagers.
When Fomai does his round of school visits tomorrow Fomai, 27, will have a new personal experience to back up his message. Fomai was last week named in a 30-strong Manu Samoa team to play three tests during a Northern Hemisphere tour next month.
"Making the Samoan team has been my dream since I was 11. In 2006 I turned down a New Zealand Sevens contract in the hope that one day I would make the Samoan team," Fomai recalled yesterday.
While Fomai is the only 2012 Magpie in the team which will play tests against Canada, Wales and France, Magpies lock Maselino Paulino has been named as a non-travelling reserve. Hawke's Bay's Marcus Agnew is the performance analyst for the side and former Magpies co-coach Tom Coventry will have the forwards coach role he had with the team last year.
A former New Zealand Secondary Schools representative, Fomai, said his latest selection was an ideal form of consolation for the Magpies disappointing season which saw them relegated from the ITM Cup Premiership.
Three of Fomai's 2011 Magpies teammates, Japan-based lock-loosie Kane Thompson, Wales-based halfback Kahn Fotuali'i and United Kingdom-based prop Logovii Mulipola are in the Samoa side. Fomai assembles in Auckland on Thursday with other New Zealand-based players before travelling to the Northern Hemisphere on Saturday.
Upon his return from the tour Fomai intends to make the Hawke's Bay Sevens team for another crack at the Queenstown-hosted nationals in January.
"I'm sure my body will handle one more year of Sevens," Fomai added.
Samoa play Canada on November 9, Wales on November 16 and France on November 24.