Rugby: Meaalofa Te'o is being noticed around the world

By James Matthey

Making it in the US is often the pinnacle for people from nearly every walk of life.

From athletes, to actors, to musicians, to businessmen to stock brokers, getting to, and then making your mark in, America, is the definition of success.

Sure, it's nice when your own country appreciates what you do, but putting your name up in lights in the land of stars and stripes can make you known around the world in an instant.

Now, we're not saying Aussie Meaalofa Te'o is about to challenge Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the presidential race anytime soon, but for a nine-year-old boy from Dandenong, Victoria, to be mentioned by publications like The Washington Times and Bleacher Report is pretty damn cool.

Te'o plays rugby league. What makes him so unique - and what's caught the eye of America - is that he plays rugby league a lot better than most nine-year-olds.

He's got one distinct advantage - he's an absolute monster. Video emerged of the youngster carving up at a junior rugby league gala day in Canberra, and the incredible footage of him running over and through opposition defenders made the Yanks sit up and take notice.

The official USA Rugby Sevens Twitter account tweeted out the footage of Te'o running amok with the caption "Pure. Carnage." We couldn't have said it any better.

They also put it on their Facebook page where it racked up 25 million views and was shared more than 340,000 times. Those are staggering numbers by anyone's standards.

The Washington Times said Te'o was "absolutely brutal", labelling him "a miniature version of a full-grown rugby player" (even after the Jarryd Hayne experiment they haven't learnt to add the "league" part on the end of the greatest game of all, but we'll let it slide).

American digital media company UPROXX also took a shine to the little star and US sports website Bleacher Report shared the video on their Facebook page on Wednesday morning (AEST).

"Meaalofa has developed a truly hellacious stiff-arm, which he uses to toss kids aside like bags of laundry. It toes the line between viscerally satisfying and scary," Matthew Rothstein wrote.

"There are kids of his size who are still not great at sports, so we won't stand for any criticism like, 'Well it's easy for a big kid,' or, 'He shouldn't be allowed to play.' Let Meaalofa own some fools."

SB Nation got in on the action too, saying you don't need to be a ladies man to be a heartbreaker.

"There have been videos of kids demolishing other kids in sports since the dawn of parents with camcorders, but there has never been anything like Meaalofa Te'o, a nine-year-old rugby sensation from Australia," wrote James Dator.

"Here's to Meaalofa Te'o, destroyer of worlds, ruiner of dreams, the greatest heartbreaker in rugby. One of these days we're going to see him in the pros."

Fox Sports US had the perfect description, calling the youngster a "human truck".

"Few videos need little to no introduction. This would be one of them," wrote Rob Perez.

"At a youth rugby tournament in Canberra, Australia, an athletic wunderkind put on one of the most magnificent displays of athleticism, brute force, and domination that you'll ever see on a rugby field at any level.

"Sit back, relax, and enjoy this human truck stick annihilate his opponents for a straight minute."

Once you're noticed in America, it doesn't take long for the rest of the world to catch on. French website sports.fr referred to Te'o as a "veritable force of nature" who "literally crushes his opponents", Wales Online shared his exploits and one of Ireland's most popular Facebook pages Benchwarmers posted his highlights reel on their social channels.

Big boppers trampling all over people who are much smaller than them despite being the same age has prompted plenty of debate in Australia. Every year the idea comes up that players should play in teams based on their height and weight, not just their age, to reduce the risk of injury to smaller players.

But one mother whose son had the unfortunate task of trying to tackle Te'o in Canberra clearly held no ill feeling towards the young gun when she posted a photo of the two sides on her Facebook page.

"We met this team in the grand final of this gala day in Canberra on Sunday," Natalie Leighton said.

"We lost 20-10, not a massive loss, showing a pretty fair game, both teams played really well and number 17 (Te'o) is only doing what he's supposed to do, scoring tries in a game of football, nothing unfair there!! This team was humble, talented and showed amazing sportsmanship!!! Thanks for a great game Doveton Steelers."

- news.com.au

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