New Zealand v Wales, Carisbrook, June 19
Double cause to celebrate for Vito
June 15, 2010
Victor Vito sprints as the All Blacks get their fitness tested, All Blacks training session, Trusts Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, June 4, 2010
Victor Vito has double cause for celebration © Getty Images

Victor Vito has double reason to celebrate after being called up to the All Blacks' starting 15 to face Wales on Saturday.

His Test selection comes after Vito was bestowed with the honour of high chief by his grandfather in their village of Fasito'o Uta in Samoa last week.

It all added up to the most memorable few days of the 23-year-old's life as he reflected on his elevation to the All Blacks' starting 15 to face Wales on Saturday.

"It's been a big couple of weeks, especially today with the starting selection. It's been awesome and just an experience I want to hold on to and hopefully keep on going with," said Vito.

Vito was in camp preparing for his Test debut off the bench against Ireland last week, when his mother Luma'ava returned to their village in Samoa to accept the passing of the title. It is one of Samoa's highest honours, and was bestowed by Leaupepe Tele to the eldest sons of his respective children: Vito and three of his cousins.

"My grandfather holds the highest title in Fasito'o Uta and he's getting on now and he needed to pass it on to keep the name in the family," Vito explained. "It's not like a knighting but it's quite similar where they pass the name on. It just means when I go home if there are some decisions to be made in the village, we have a bit of a say."

When asked the size of the village, Vito replied that it was not quite the size of his adopted Wellington.

"It's one of the bigger ones... it's got an ATM and a petrol station and a Quick-E-Mart, so that's huge."

Vito also has the decision to make of whether to be adorned with one of the traditional ceremonial tattoos befitting of his new honour.

"I wouldn't not consider it, but I think I'll take my time on it. I don't know if I'll have two weeks off at any stretch. Then the recovery takes another little while so we'll see how it goes."

Before he gets around to considering a tattoo, Vito has a more pressing engagement in Graham Henry's starting side to face Wales.

"You might be chosen for three games but you might only get 20 minutes to show your worth. I'm definitely happy with the start and hopefully I can take it with both hands."


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