FORMER dual international Pauliasi Tabulutu has paid tribute to former team- mate Nemani Matirewa who was laid to rest in Nausori yesterday.
Speaking from the US, the former national rugby halfback said the death of the tough forward was a huge loss to the Fiji Rugby Union and the Fiji National Rugby League.
Tabulutu and Matirewa were two of the pioneers in the local rugby league scene after ending their colourful careers in rugby union in 1992.
"He will be greatly missed by the rugby league and the rugby union families," the former Nabua halfback said.
"Mati was one of the first Fijian rugby league players to open the door for local players to play overseas.
"He was a tough player on the field and a humble gentleman off it."
"He may be gone but his name will always be there for future rugby players to aspire to."
He is survived by his wife and four children.