Update: 12:24AM IN the valley where Waisale Serevi became a giant, the world's governing rugby body officially accepted Small as a true legend of the oval ball.
became the first Fijian inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame on the same pitch
where his fairytale story began.
of thousands of fans who make the annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of sevens
rugby, he was honoured.
dropout who became a household name across the world for his exploits as a
sevens player, inspiring generations to take up the shorter code, Serevi
reached the pinnacle of his career in Happy Valley where most of his and Fiji's
memories are just that.
recognised Serevi - dubbed among other superlatives as the magician,
sorcerer, the master and the king - as the greatest sevens player the world has
standing ovation at So Kon Po where his international career was born moved
thank God for this opportunity. It is an honour for me to receive this award on
the ground where I started my career. No Hong Kong, there is no Waisale
Serevi," he said after inspiring the Fijians to a 26-5 victory over Canada
in their last pool play of Two Day.
came here as a young, little guy and the atmosphere stole my heart. When I came
here I forgot about Christmas and New Year for the next 20 years because I was
doing my training.
goal was always to play at the Hong Kong 7s the next year. I think I made a lot
of sacrifices and the hard work has paid off.
receive this award here is an honour for me." Serevi, who now owns a
clothing brand in his name and operates out of New York City, said the award
"is for everybody back at home".
just like he has every time Fiji with him has won at Hong Kong, he dedicated it
to the children on Palm Sunday today.
is for every child this Children's Sunday. I told the boys that this is for the
children back at home. The award is not for me alone but for all coaches and
players that I have played with and all fans of Fiji around the world.
thank my wife Kara, my children Una, Nate, and Junior for supporting me all the
way. I thank IRB for giving me this award."
after following in the wake of Fijian rugby greats who played the full code,
the IRB has recognised this little man from Qarani in Gau, for influencing and
spreading the popularity of sevens with his game, among the world's best.