Rugby World Cup 2019: Roofer Siua Maile owes Tonga call-up to Facebook

Siua Maile hasn’t followed the usual path to test rugby - Tonga coaches found him on Facebook.

"I know that sounds funny, but it's much what it is," insists assistant coach Dan Cron.

"We had a hooking crisis when we were in Tonga and we had to find one. Through knowing some people Canterbury, this guy was mentioned to us.

"He met us when we landed at Auckland Airport, but no-one knew what he looked like.

"There's a little bit of Dane Coles about him - the way he plays and runs and steps on the edge."

Unfortunately, Newshub we couldn't talk to the 22-year-old, because his new coach, Toutai Kefu, felt he already had enough on his plate, as he prepared for his test debut against the All Blacks.

That's understandable, considering until now, the roofer played amateur rugby for Shirley in Christchurch.

"I think he's still a bit shocked, but he's taking it on well," says Kefu. "We were doing some contact drills and he was in the thick of it.

"I had to tell him to tone it down a bit."

Making the challenge even bigger, he only recently became a hooker.

"He's played senior rugby at 12 and 13," says Shirley coach Deane Lutton. "This year, we've used him as an openside flanker, blindside and No.8, but his main spot is hooker and he's really good at that."

Former All Black Corey Flynn has been giving Maile a hand with the basics.

"With his throwing, he actually had a really nice flight with the ball," says Flynn, "It looked like he'd been throwing the ball for years."

Back in Christchurch, his family is overwhelmed.

"It's really a big blessing for use," says mother Temalisi Maile

Reflects brother Ngase: "We were still at church and his misses told us my brother was going to play against the All Blacks.

"I was so happy, I still don't know how to explain it."

Temalisi's had her own call-up - to look after Siuo's baby for the weekend - because Shirley Rugby Club raised funds for wife Mele and sister Ofa to fly up for the test.

Air New Zealand then stepped up with free flights for his brother, who lives, plays rugby and works with Siua.

"I'm his biggest fan," grins Ngase.

Play well against the All Blacks and professional contracts will follow.

That Facebook video has suddenly changed Siua Maile's future.

Newshub.

Join us at 2:30pm Saturday for live updates of All Blacks v Tonga 

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