NEWCASTLE Falcons new boy Jamie Helleur has revealed his agonising decision to turn down a Rugby World Cup call from a Samoa squad also containing his younger brother.
Having landed on Tyneside last week, elder sibling Jamie was basking in the Kingston Park sunshine while brother Brenton was preparing for Samoa’s World Cup warm-up against Japan in Tokyo.
“It is a shame I am not going to be with them this year, but that is a decision made more with the head than the heart,” said Jamie, the 27-year-old centre with four caps to his name after choosing to represent his ancestral homeland last year.
Ready to watch the World Cup from afar during September and October as the Aviva Premiership season gets under way, he added: “For the time being I have opted out of the international scene, and that is just a strategic move which I have really had to make.
“There is a difference sometimes between chasing a dream and making a good decision, and coming to Newcastle is a good decision. Now that I am here, I am even more sure that it was the right call to make. I talked it over with my family for a long time, and after a couple of months debating we decided that setting the family up with some security was the most important thing to do.”
Proud nonetheless for his family connection, the former Auckland and Blues star said: “My younger brother Brenton has made the squad as a half-back, and it melts my heart to know that he will be involved.
“He is a great player who has had a rough time through injury and, if I can’t be at the World Cup myself, then it would be a fantastic honour for Brenton to be in there representing the family. I will be proud to put our Samoa jerseys side by side on display. My parents are just ecstatic that he is in the mix.”