All Blacks prop Atu Moli has given a heartwarming surprise gift to his parents by paying for them to travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup.

The surprise was sprung on Atu's mother Luseane last Sunday who was sitting in church when her husband stood up unexpectedly to make an announcement that they would be heading to Japan to support their son.

Sione said he didn't expect to be able to get the chance to cheer on his son.

"I really wanted to go, but at the same time he's a professional now, so I can't follow him everywhere," Sione told Stuff.


Atu has always been generous and has given back to his family, says Luseane.

"They're very lucky, he's always looking out for them, he's a leader."

It's been a whirlwind year for Atu who recovered from a serious quad injury which required multiple surgeries and made a sensational rugby return all the way to making the All Blacks' World Cup squad.

Sione said he talked to his son prior to the World Cup announcement and was proud of seeing his incredible comeback.

"I said if you don't make the team, you smile and take it," Sione said. "Then he was named and he was worried he didn't deserve it because of everything that was being said about Owen Franks not making the squad.

"There was a 50/50 chance he'd play rugby again … but even when he was injured he couldn't stay still, nothing was stopping him."

The World Cup announcement day was an emotional one for the Moli family. Sione said he was thankful for all the support they've received from their small town in Marlborough.

"We laughed and cried," Sione said. "He grew up around really good people, that all supported him. That's the strength of a small town.


"It was tough when we first moved here, being some of the only Pacific Islanders, but now it's home, there's some great people here who have helped Atu get to where he is."

Love your rugby? Subscribe now to NZ Herald Premium for unlimited access to premium content, including our exclusive, first-class rugby coverage. Check out our special rugby offer here