BigO Tyres

Rugby’s Newest Stars Rugby’s Newest Stars
Naima Fualaau, Mata Hingano Emerge On National Scene Rugby, traditionally played as a 15-player-a-side game, has multiple variations in regards to Union versus League,... Rugby’s Newest Stars

Naima Fualaau, Mata Hingano Emerge On National Scene

Rugby, traditionally played as a 15-player-a-side game, has multiple variations in regards to Union versus League, and more well known, 15s versus 7s. In previous editions of SportStars, we delved deeper into the strategy, positioning, scoring and history of 15s. in 7-a-side rugby, the game is  fast-paced, high energy, and open-fielded, where there are seven players on the field from each team, and the games are played in seven-minute halves on a full regulation-size field, and most rules and scoring are the same as 15s.

When Americans think of Rugby 7s, names like Danny Barrett, Perry Baker and Carlin Isles, who has been deemed “the fastest man in rugby,” come to mind.

As rugby is quickly growing across the country, some new faces are being introduced to the USA Rugby National Teams, two of those new faces are recent graduates of Rugby NorCal. Peninsula Green Youth Rugby Club and Danville Oaks Rugby Club have developed two of the USA Eagles newest 7s players, Naima Fualaau and Mata Hingano, respectively.

Both players recently received their first caps (international appearance with a national team) with the USA National Teams. Naima Fualaau subbed in on May 21 at Twickenham Stadium in England against Canada, and Mata Hingano started the match on May 28 at Westhills Stadium in Canada against England.


Coming on in the semifinal against North American rivals Canada, Naima got a taste for international rugby at the early age of 18 years old. He is the youngest player to debut with the USA Eagles Men’s 7s.

Naima played his high school rugby for the Peninsula Green Rugby Club where he was a starter and team leader and was coached by Bob Benson and Moses Similai. During his senior year, he was pivotal in leading the team to an undefeated NorCal season and the Division I varsity championship. The Pen Green team was ranked No. 4 in the nation by the Goff Poll with its only loss coming to Danville (No. 1 in the USA) in the Championship of the Pacific Cup. Prior to Pen Green, Naima was an outstanding player for the Hayward Griffins.

Naima represented Rugby NorCal on the JV and varsity all-star teams. He was always an outstanding player with an elusive step and the great gift of being able to read the game and pop through holes in the opposition defense. At 5’10” and 160 pounds, Naima is not a large player, but hits hard and is quick to steal passes from opponents. He is a very versatile back, playing scrum half, fly half, center, wing and fullback (depending on the team needs at the time).

Naima lives in Hayward, where his parents reside. After high school, where he starred at football and volleyball, he joined the Life West College rugby program. After showing great promise in his games for Life West, his coach suggested he move to the USA national scene.


Mata started playing rugby in eighth grade for the Pleasanton Cavaliers Rugby Club, and before the start of her freshman year of high school, she moved to the Danville Oaks Rugby club and helped the Lady Oaks toward an undefeated season.

Mata represented NorCal on the Rugby NorCal girls all-star team all four years of her high school career, was invited to the AIG Camp during her sophomore, junior and senior years, and was an AIG Women’s Junior All-American during her junior and senior years. At only 18 years of age, Mata was invited to a USA Eagles 7s training camp. She is slated to travel with the Eagles 7s to France, and has recently been asked to train and play with the Eagles 15s side.

Mata resides in San Ramon and plays for the Div. I Life West Gladiatrix, who recently defended their Div. I title on June 3 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado, where Mata added one try to the scorecard in a 39-17 win.

For more information about rugby in Northern California, contact Marti Blum at



SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *