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Teary-eyed Serevi thanks rugby greats

Maciu Malo
Friday, November 16, 2012

SEVENS rugby icon Waisale Serevi was emotional when thanking All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu and England's 7s star Ben Gollings for making themselves available for this year's Coral Coast 7s.

In a passionate speech during the launch of the 7s competition at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort, Serevi commended Lomu and Gollings, saying their presence would boost exposure of the game and help in the development of the game at grass root level.

"Jonah and Ben thank you so much for being here in Fiji. Thank you for giving your time to help Fiji rugby," Serevi said.

"Your presence will motivate and inspire many players during the competition and we wish you will enjoy a good weekend of rugby."

Serevi also went back in time and shared some encounters with the pair during his heyday.

He said his focus was on supporting his family and business and the memories of his 21 years of playing for Fiji would always be cherished.

"I have done mileage for Fiji and think it's time to support my family through my business."

"To Ben (Gollings) I know many Fijians love to hate you because you were one of our toughest rivals in 7s."

"In 2005 we beat you and the England team at the Hong Kong 7s but you scored the winning try in the 2006 Hong Kong 7s that bundled us out of the competition.

"But since you are here in Fiji you are part of our 7s rugby and we thank you for supporting Fiji 7s rugby."

Serevi scored the winning try against England in that 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup before Gollings answered with a similar feat a year later.

The former national 7s coach and skipper also shared some fond memories of Lomu who stamped his mark at the Hong Kong 7s.

"It was in 1996 when I first met Lomu. I was at my hotel room when Luke Erenavula called me saying that an All Black 7s player wanted to meet me," Serevi recalled.

"I then told them to come to my room and I got a shock when I saw this giant. At first I thought he was an official.

"But after sharing my FMF biscuits with him I later realised he was an All Black. After our meeting I wished him well for the game.

"That time, I guess I was the popular figure at Hong Kong but I was surprised to see this new friend of mine smashing players in his wake.

"That is how I met this gentle giant and to Jonah I wish you and your family have a wonderful weekend here in Fiji."





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