Former Highlanders lock deals to burglar who picked wrong house

Lio Falaniko, seen here in a Hurricanes strip, made 24 appearances for the Highlanders. Photo:...
Lio Falaniko, seen here in a Hurricanes strip, made 24 appearances for the Highlanders. Photo: ODT files
A burglar picked the wrong home to break into after he entered the residence of a former boxer and international rugby star.

Former Highlander, Samoan international and boxing star Lio Falaniko was sitting at his Perth home in his underwear on December 28 when the incident unfolded.

Falaniko was pondering what Netflix movie to watch when the burglar brazenly walked through his front door and into the hallway towards the kitchen in the middle of the afternoon.

The 51-year-old, who has 10 professional heavyweight boxing wins to his name, told Perth Now how the incident unfolded.

"I'd just got home from the shops and the dude just walked straight into my house.

"There were so many things that went through my head ... with my ability and skills as a former boxer, I could have punched him to the moon and back."

After realising he had broken into the home of a hulking sports star, the burglar tried to double back and sprint out the door.

But Falaniko, who was already on his feet, grabbed the robber by the neck and dragged him back into the house.

The former rugby star, who played at three World Cups, was ready to dish out some instant karma, but he decided against it after feeling sorry for him.

"But the guy was so small, I felt sorry for him and he's lucky I was still in the Christmas spirit. So I told him to f*** off before I called the ambulance for him and wished him a Happy New Year.

"He looked like he'd seen a ghost and just ran.

"You should be careful whose house you walk into."

Perth locals weighed in on the incident with many praising the sports star's decision to not harm the burglar.

"What an absolute champion of a human being," one said.

Another added: "I would not have been as forgiving. However, well done to this fine example of a man."

Others took the opportunity to poke fun at the scared burglar, with one saying "he probably ran home to change his pants".

Falaniko was born in Apia and represented Samoa 21 times.

He played Super Rugby for the Highlanders and Hurricanes between 1996 and 1999, making 24 appearances for the southern franchise, and also played 36 games for Otago.

He also played club rugby for Alhambra-Union while in Dunedin.

Between 2005 and 2011, Falaniko fought in 10 professional heavyweight bouts in New Zealand, going undefeated.



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