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War horse

Rashneel Kumar
Monday, January 28, 2013

SETEFANO Cakau is like a fine wine. The older he gets, the better he becomes.

At an age of 34, he runs like a cheetah and has strength of an ox.

In many occasion, Cakau had shamed his much junior opponents with his accelerating speed and skills.

And it's the younger players that inspire this forward to become better.

Cakau says he trains harder than before to be able to match the speed and strength of the newcomers in the national side.

"Age is catching up on me. I focus a lot on my fitness by doing a lot of running just to get my fitness up there," the Digicel Fiji 7s skipper for the upcoming leg of the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series said.

"I will be playing with a lot of young guys and they are very fast. I have to lift my fitness to their level so it becomes easier for us to play together."

Cakau, who hails from Wainatava, Namosi, started his career with the Prisons Club in the then BP Oil 7s series competition in 2003.

He made his debut for the Fiji 7s side in the same year playing at the Brisbane and Wellington 7s tournaments.

The 6 feet 1 inch tall Cakau took a three-year break from the national duties.

He was back again much fitter and better in 2005 and has been in for the national side ever since.

Cakau plays for Namosi, which made the top flight last year, in the fifteens competition as a flanker.

He also had a stint with the Jaffna Challengers in Sri Lanka's Carlton 7s and later played for the Navy Sports Club in the Sri Lankan Premier Rugby League last year.

Cakau was named the Player of the Tournament at the Uprising 7s earlier this month by IRB commentator Willie Lose.

"I give my best in every game I play because it's my job to play the best as a rugby player," Cakau said.

"While on field, I give my 100 per cent and I think that's the reason why they rate me like that."

Meanwhile Cakau rates the national side selected for the Wellington and Las Vegas 7s as one of the best.

He said the experience at Uprising 7s would be vital for the team in the upcoming tournaments.

"I know the coaches have picked a good team. Playing at the Uprising 7s has helped us a lot especially the new players. We have had the experience of playing together as a team and I know this will make the job easier in Wellington."

Assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo, who will guide the national side in Wellington, said Cakau was a leader and led the team by example.

Fiji will take on Scotland at 1.50pm, Australia at 4.46pm and Portugal at 8.34pm in its pool matches on Friday at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.

The team leaves today for Wellington.

Forwards — Ulaiasi Lawavou, Setefano Cakau, Nemani Nagusa, Manueli Laqai, Jone Vota, Jasa Veremalua.

Backs — Joji Ragamate, Ilai Tinai, Samisoni Viriviri, Josua Tuisova, Manasa Nayagi and Benito Eremasi.

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