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Fiji loses a 'star' winger

Emoni Narawa
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HE rose to stardom, performed as a star at his moment and will be remembered as one of Fiji's favourite rugby sons because of his sublime skills and speed.

Those were the words uttered by former national rugby 15s captain and lock forward Ilaitia Tuisese as he tries to remember his good friend Sanivalati Laulau.

"Isa, Isa" were the first two words Tuisese uttered when Times Sports relayed the news to him yesterday.

Tuisese said Laulau was a star during his prime rugby days.

"He is one of Fiji's best wingers during his days. Laulau was one player who would give his life on the rugby field for his country.

"He rose during in his time and showed his potential. He is one of Fiji's greatest rugby sons who starred during his rugby days," Tuisese said.

The former Flying Fijian winger who had 32 caps for Fiji scoring 20 tries in those games died at his home on Sunday night.

Nawaka Village spokesman Apisai Noga said Laulau would sadly be missed not only by the people of Nawaka but Fiji as a whole.

"As an elder of the village, he (Laulau) will be sadly be missed by everyone."

The former national rugby sevens coach made his Flying Fijians debut on May 24, 1980, when Fiji lost to Australia at the National Stadium in Suva.

Laulau paired Jope Kuinikoro on the wing while Kini Vosailagi and the late Wame Gavidi were the midfield partners.

The Australian team had the services of current Australia 7s coach Michael O'Connor on the wing. O'Connor will arrive with his Australian Thunderbolts team for the Uprising International 7s tournament this week.

Laulau played his final match against Wales on November 9, 1985 at Cardiff Arms Park.

The funeral will be held at Nawaka on Saturday at 10am.


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