The rugby community have been rocked by the sudden loss of a promising young player who died tragically in a car accident at Vailoa in the early hours of this morning.
Son of longtime Vaimoso captain and former Manu Samoa rugby player Leilani ‘Race’ Une, Joseph has been described as a young man who showed integrity and committment to the team, both on and off the field.
Tributes to Joseph have flooded social media platforms as family, friends and team mates shared loving memories of the rising rugby star who was also a proud father to his little baby boy.
Jo Une played for his father’s village of Vaimoso as well as the champion Super 9 Eels Under 20s squad in the No.8 position.
He was part of the Manu Samoa U20s team in 2018 and was called into the Samoa A in 2019 following a solid performance for the Eels in the Super 9 competition.
Samoa A Head Coach and World Rugby hall of famer Muliagatele Brian Lima describes Une as one of his hardest working players.
“Jo was the kind of player who was going to go far because he works really hard. He had a really good attitude and is a team player,” said Muliagatele.
The Samoa A Coach went on to say that he saw the potential in Jo Une and called him in to the Samoa A which now has a focus on Under 23 players.
Muliagatele said that Joseph Une has never missed a training for Samoa A since his call up to the squad.
“E lei misi lava se toleniga a Jo talu ona call in atu i le Samoa A. E tele lava ina faagoi tamaiti ma fai excuse pe a faalogo atu ua mamafa toleniga, but Jo never missed a training,” added Muliagatele.
Off the field, players including the writer will tell you that Jo was an approachable person who got along with everyone in the team. He gelled the team together. You could always count on Jo to be the one that cracks a joke to lift the team’s spirits and make the boys laugh.
Former Manu Samoa fly half D’Angelo Leuila was in the Samoa A squad with Joseph Une this year and describes Jo’s sense of humour when he says he was “the most funniest guy I’ve ever met”.
You will always be remembered Jo. It was hard to hear you were gone. Manuia lau malaga.