With Tongan roots, the sport of rugby is in King Matu’s blood; although he calls it fate. After spending much of his childhood on the sideline watching his father play, King finally decided to give the game a shot when he was in the seventh grade. King had recently finished up a season of football, when his cousin invited him to join him on the pitch. With no prior rugby experience, King was a natural and his rugby career began.
He continued to play year after year, competing in multiple tournaments and on all levels. King spent the most time playing for Lamorinda Rugby Football Club as their No. 8. With Lamorinda, he helped lead the junior varsity side to an undefeated season and a NORCAL Rugby Championship. King was selected as an all-star on multiple occasions and was a two-time Cal Varsity Rugby Camp attendee. In his second Cal Varsity Rugby Camp appearance, he was awarded the Cal Golden Bear Award.
In his senior season with Lamorinda, he played in the Dennis Storer Classic and helped his team sweep all of their matches. As a result, he was awarded man of the match by UCLA Rugby head coach, Scott Stewart. As the season carried on, Lamorinda had only lost one game. King would be a part of the squad that would place 6th in the nation.
“Some rugby players excel on the pitch, with others having a greater impact helping to build chemistry within the club. Fortunately for Lamorinda, King is often the cornerstone of our club in both respects. We have many talented players, but King provides that rare combination of power, support, and athleticism throughout the match, with a keen ability to adjust the psyche and effort of the collective group to the required level in any situation,” said Lamorinda Rugby Football Club Head Coach, Gary Hein.
In addition to rugby, Matu maintained a high GPA and was involved in many extracurricular activities, ranging from playing football for the Deer Valley Wolverines, National Society of High School Scholars, and an active participant in his church. His success on the pitch and in the classroom landed him a spot on the University of Arizona Rugby team.
“I can’t say enough about this young man and we are so blessed to be in a sport where we get to have a guy like King in our program and in our school,” said Sean Duffy, Director of Rugby at the University of Arizona.
As Matu begins his college career at the University of Arizona, he intends to major in computer science. He chose computer science because of its lucrative industry and to ultimately help him achieve his biggest goal of buying his parents a home one day. King is focused on being successful and honoring his family for their unwavering support. Matu’s dreams of one day being a member of the USA National team and wishes to inspire others to chase after their similar rugby dreams.
King has described rugby as shaping his life and teaching him valuable skills that he can use day to day.
“Rugby showed me how much you could bond with all these different types of people, whether it be race, size, shape, age, etc. It has always shown me that if I put my mind as well as others into a collective mindset, the amount we could accomplish is tremendous.”