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Viriviri fast

Emoni Narawa In Hong Kong
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FROM farm chores to international rugby stardom in just six months.

That's how fast Samisoni Viriviri chased a dream borne out of the stories of his grandfather and namesake who was part of the legendary 1977 Fiji XV that beat the British Lions in Suva.

The Fiji team rookie is coming of age in the IRB Sevens World Series and was recognised for his game at the weekend's Hong Kong Sevens which Fiji won 26-19 after trailing 19-nil at half-time.

A panel of former players and coaches picked the Dratabu, Nadi man as the Hong Kong Sevens Best and Fairest Player during the final aftermatch.

Fiji coach Alivereti Dere said the journey had only begun for the 24-year-old speedster. "Viriviri is playing really well at the moment. He has the speed and he is using it well out wide," Dere said.

"I am really happy with what he has been showing. This is the first time for him to play in Hong Kong but I think he is enjoying his time out there on the field.

"We are trying to make use of his speed out wide and he has proven his worth."

Viriviri's single mother, Vika Rabale, said her sacrifices were paying off.

"Winning Hong Kong Best and Fairest Player award means so much to us," she told The Fiji Times.

"The message that I always give him is - before you do anything, put God first."

Mrs Rabale said Viriviri understood perseverance.

"Being a single mother, the dedication and the sacrifices that I have made is all paying off," she said.

"I would like to wish him the very best for Tokyo 7s and tell him that the sky is the limit."

Viriviri's rugby journey started with Nadi College where he played for the under-16 side in the schools competition.

At 19, he broke into the club level for Dratabu in the Nadi Rugby Union club games and later played for Lomaiviti and Suva in 2010 before joining the Stallions.

His call-up for the Fiji sevens team in the 2012-2013 season was the break he had been praying for and he has not let the team down since.

He made his debut for Fiji at the Gold Coast Sevens but did not make the cut for the Dubai and South Africa legs.

He returned for the Wellington and Las Vegas legs and impressed his way into Dere's squad for the Hong Kong and Japan legs.

Dere said Viriviri - whose grandfather was in the Pio Bosco Tikoisuva-captained side that beat the British Lions 25-21 at Suva's Buckhurst Park in August 1977 - would be a key player as they head to the World Cup in Moscow, Russia, in June.

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