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The 1952 tour

Kameli Rakoko
Saturday, March 22, 2014

AFTER the first Test loss in 1954 and the lack of discipline that led to it, players were warned not to retaliate to the foul tactics that the Aussies had resorted to and to play their own style of rugby.

Continuing his interview in the BOOT magazine in 1995, printed by the former Daily Post, Suliasi Vatubua said they usually performed a yaqona ceremony to government representative Ratu George Cakobau, who reminded them of the importance of winning.

"Play to win and do not forget the name of your country and of your chiefs.

"No one wants to return a loser especially in the Tests.

"You are playing for the country and that comes first in your encounter with the Wallabies."

Before the second Test it was printed in the papers that Vatubua was just three points away from being the first overseas rugby player to score 100 points on Australian soil.

"I was not aware of the points I was amassing during the tour but our tour manager was," Vatubua said.

"Before the Test I had scored 97 points so what was printed in the papers gave me the extra urge to score more points."

But throughout the game Vatubua was not able to kick his record breaking three points because of nervousness.

"All the short range penalties I kicked went off the mark. I was worried as I knew I was only three points away from scoring 100 points and become the first to do so on Australian soil."

According to Vatubua, the kicking duties was given to fullback Taniela Ranavue because he had missed simple kicks.

But in the dying stages of the game a penalty was given 25 metres away from the Wallabies tryline.

Seeing that the Wallaby winger had his back against Fiji walking back to his goalline Vatubua advised Ranavue to kick the ball forward towards the unsuspecting player.

Vatubua followed up caught the ball and as the Wallaby player turned to tackle Vatubua fended him off and ran to score under the crossbar and score his record 100 points.

Vatubua told the story of how Ratu Cakobau lost his cool regarding two players who had failed to turn up in time for the departure from a restaurant where the team was having food.

The two players were invited out by some Aussies and they were still out when it was time to depart.

Ratu George held his cool until they turned up and he grabbed a flag and the stick attached to it and beat the head and waist of one of the two burly Fijian forwards.

"No one can stop me from sending you back to Fiji right now. And when you go you will not go to your home but to Korovou prison where you will await my return," Ratu George told the player.

Meanwhile, Vatubua said only some of the players could converse in English and they were roomed together with someone who could speak English and there were many funny moments.

One of the players he was partnered with was taking the lead to a tea party. As soon as he entered the waitress greeted him: "Good day sir."

"How are you?"

Vatubua had taken a step back and hid from his sight.

Mr X replied with a big Fijian smile at the same time looking around for Vatubua.

Then the waitress asked him what he would like coffee or tea.

Mr X: "Coffee."

"Black or white," the waitress asked.

Still looking around for his English guide Mr X said: "Black and white."

"E cala qori (That's not right)," called out Vatubua.

"A cava ga o vaberaberataka tu mai, kua ni baci lai talanoataka (Where were you, don't tell anyone)," Mr X replied.

Vatubua said when the players were intoxicated during after- match functions everybody spoke English and it was impossible to ask them to lower their voices .

In one party Mr X was again the centre of attraction and was unstoppable from talking in English and they had to get Ratu Kalivati Cavuilati to try and shut him up.

Cavuilati: "Stop talking will you...

Mr X: "Yes will you.."

On another day at the doctor's clinic the doctor asked: "Who is using this chair?"

Mr X: "My body."

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