LEVENI Tani will continue the tradition of being part of a rugby family when he teams up with Namatakula-based Ratu Filise at the Fiji Bitter Nawaka Sevens this weekend.
Like his elder brothers Alipate and Kaliova, who both represented Fiji in rugby union and league, 22-year-old Leveni is fast becoming a star in his own right with his unique sevens skills. His deceptive footwork and enormous speed is something Ratu Filise will unearth in Nadi when they defend the title this year.
Coach Etika Tovilevu said Leveni had the ability to score tries from any angle with his uncanny ability to break the defensive line with sheer power and speed.
"He is our secret weapon and you better be there to watch him," said Tovilevu.
Leveni, a former Suva Grammar student, will team up with Fiji Bati reps Jone Macilai, Joe Ravueta and Etuate Gusuivalu and Timoci Nameru, who was part of the Davetalevu team that played at the recent Darwin Sevens.
Tovilevu said Leveni had the attribute of a future sevens star with his skills, power and speed.
"He played at some local tournaments and already I've seen him turning to be a star for the future if given proper guidance," Tovilevu said. He said the core of the team which won the title last year had been retained except Tani's elder brother Alipate and Kaliova, who have secured contracts in Australia.
"With his elder brothers away I expect Leveni to continue the tradition and make us happy," Tovilevu said.
Tani's dad Viliame is also a household name in Nadroga, having played for the provincial team in the early 80s and also represented Fiji.
Tovilevu said with $21,000 first prize-money, all teams would be gunning for a win and the boys had been psyched up to deliver the goods. "We are ready to defend the title and the emphasis throughout the week has been to play our best and come back home with the prize," a confident Tovilevu said. Sixty-four top teams will participate at the two-day tournament which will also feature international teams like Samoa and Fiji.
The other top contenders are Wardens, Red Rock, Police and Army from Suva and Fiji TV provincial winner Natabua from Lautoka.