Rugby Union

All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa reveals anger issues in candid Instagram post

All Blacks and Highlanders player Malakai Fekitoa publicly expressed his issues with anger on one of his official social media accounts on Wednesday.

The Tongan-born centre posted a message to his 173,000 Instagram followers, admitting his own problems and encouraging others in a similar position to seek help.

Making a break: Malakai Fekitoa bursts clear to score against Georgia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Making a break: Malakai Fekitoa bursts clear to score against Georgia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

Fekitoa could not be immediately reached over why he had gone public on the issue, a course of action that blindsided his Auckland-based manager Bruce Sharrock.

Malakai Fekitoa celebrates winning the 2015 Super Rugby final in Wellington.
Malakai Fekitoa celebrates winning the 2015 Super Rugby final in Wellington. Photo: Getty Images

Sharrock said he "did not control his [Fekitoa's] social media", and had not spoken to his player about the post. He had no comment at this time and added: "there will be none either".

The agent said that when he did manage to speak to Fekitoa, he would say: "my first advice to Malakai is things that are personal, you keep them personal".

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The player's Super Rugby team, the Highlanders also declined to comment until after they had spoken to Fekitoa, who trained with the team on Wednesday.

Fekitoa has been named to start at centre for the Highlanders in Thursday's Super Rugby trial with the Crusaders in Waimumu, near Gore.

In the past, his tweets have been largely upbeat and positive, celebrating his successes and those of his team-mates, recalling his humble beginnings.

Despite his admission, for which he gave no apparent reason for sharing, the 23-year-old has come a long way on and off the field since arriving in New Zealand aged 17 in 2009.

Brought up in a family of 15 children on Tonga's sparsely populated Ha'apai Islands, Fekitoa regularly shared a house with more than 20 family members, but was just 14 when his father Eni died after a car crash.

He could not speak any English when he came to Auckland on a rugby scholarship with Wesley College, after shining for the Tongan sevens team as a teenager.

In 2012, the powerful midfielder made his provincial debut for Auckland and was in the Blues wider-training squad.

However, he got little game time and was unwanted by the Blues when the Highlanders picked him up for the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Fekitoa's fortunes drastically turned around after the move, becoming a star for the southern franchise and going on to play the first of his 13 Tests for the All Blacks against England in June that same year.

In an interview prior to the All Blacks' win over his country of birth at last year's Rugby World Cup, Fekitoa said time management was one example of the adjustments he initially struggled to make with life in New Zealand.

"They talk about me before, my attitude wasn't right when I was in Auckland. I was late a lot," he said.

"[The All Blacks has been] a massive difference for me, the time management. You always have something to do in this team. You always have to eat right; you always exercise. Your brain is always working and taking notes. That's a massive change for me in my life. From Tonga to here it's a huge change."

Stuff.co.nz

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