News Release

Parallels in Personal and Professional Life for Will Hopoate

Will and Jimicina Hopoate2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Will Hopoate, centre for St. Helens Rugby Football Club, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, credits gospel teachings with helping him to balance his personal and professional life.

He says, “In the juggling act of balancing work, family, and Church, the gospel helps with priorities and perspectives for me and my family. With the help of my wife, I strive to put the Lord first, then my family and then my work. I am a rugby player. It’s what I do – not who I am.” 

Will Hopoate began playing professional rugby league in 2010 in Australia but turned down a million-dollar plus contract to serve a two-year volunteer mission for the Church in Brisbane, Australia. He was born and raised in a Latter-day Saint family of eleven children whose father, John also played rugby.

He credits his mission experience with helping him develop the spiritual anchor he has today. “There are so many things that I use in my everyday life that I learned from my mission in terms of time management, priorities and habits. I see a mission as more of a privilege than a sacrifice because what I gained spiritually outweighs the sacrifice.

After his mission, Will later played for the Canterbury Bulldogs in Australia. As he was completing his contract, Will was invited by coach Kristian Wolff, to play and compete for St. Helens R.F.C. beginning 2022 in the UK for two years, with an option for a third year.

When asked about how his team members view his faith, Will responds, “They are very respectful. If you set your standards and values right from the start it eliminates a lot of challenges.”

He adds, “Over the years I can see how gospel teachings have really helped in terms of keeping me safe from off field incidents. With obedience to a health code and being chaste, I’ve been protected from consequences that have cost some athletes their careers or their contracts because of misconduct.”

When challenging experiences come such as dealing with injuries or being away from family for games, Will says he relies on his relationship with the Saviour and years of practiced discipline and discipleship.

Will’s most important team is the one he has created with his wife Jimicina “Jimi” and their four children. They love being in the UK and experiencing its culture, including seeing snow for the first time. Though their families are in Australia, they feel the support of their UK friends and Church community.

Will says that Jimi plays a vital part of the success of their family. “She offers encouragement and support to me and the children both physically and mentally.”

Will and “Jimi” with their four children2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“I feel like both of us need to be on our games in our roles as parents,” says Jimi. “If things are good at home and in our marriage, Will can go to training with the focus and energy he needs.”

She adds, “One of the things that seem inspiring to our followers on social media is the intentional role that Will plays in teaching our children the gospel. He leads the kids in family prayers and puts a lot of effort into preparing gospel lessons just like he did as a missionary.”

Jimi continues, “Our children love it because Will teaches them in a way they can understand. Family Home Evening is a great blessing for our family.”

Years of practised discipleship and discipline have honed Will Hopoate’s skills both in the home and on the rugby field.

When asked about giving advice to someone pursuing an athletic career he says, “I think first and foremost you need to enjoy it. I love playing rugby and that attitude helps to push me through the challenging times or injuries.”

Will concludes, “There may be people more talented, faster, or better than you. If you enjoy what you do and are disciplined such as being on time, showing up and having a good attitude, you can be successful at any career.“

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