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Lutumailagi embraces challenge

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, March 27, 2014

ROBUST Joeli Lutumailagi knows the expectation from the Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan and the people of Fiji in this weekend's Hong Kong 7s.

And the Nadroga man is ready to put his body on the line to ensure Fiji successfully defends the title in So Kon Po this Sunday.

Lutumailagi was called in as a replacement for Leo Naikasau after failing to make the cut for Tokyo 7s in Japan because of a back injury.

Coach Ryan will be using the former France-based player on rover and is hoping his inclusion will strengthen the side in both attack and defence.

Samu Saqiwa is the other new addition to the team for Hong Kong 7s replacing Jasa Veremalua.

Veremalua, Naikasau and some other Fiji 7s squad members are playing in the Hong Kong Tens tournament.

"I'm looking forward to the games this weekend. The last time I played here was in 2012 and we won and I will try my best this weekend so we can retain the title," Lutumailagi said.

Lutumailagi last featured for Fiji in the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series.

He joined French club Narbonne in 2012 but suffered a neck injury at the start of the Rugby ProD2 2012/13 session.

After recovering he went on to play rugby in Sri Lanka.

Lutumailagi returned home for the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s and played for Tabadamu in the tournament.

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