Fiji Time: 6:09 PM on Monday 8 February

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Nawaka 7s to showcase a new star

Maciu Malo
Friday, April 11, 2014

EXPECT the birth of another rising star in this year's Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s tournament which starts today.

The tournament, which is known as the breeding ground of some of Fiji's most fearless and talented rugby players, has been in existence for the past 27 years.

Nawaka players such as Manasa Qoro, Esala Labalaba, Savenaca Aria, Apenisa Naevo, Semisi Naevo, Aminiasi Nava, Apisai Nagata, Lalai Driu and the late Senivalati Laulau were nurtured at the tournament and went on to become rugby household names.

Former national flanker Manasa Qoro and robust centre Savenaca Aria rightly said the Nawaka 7s tournament shaped their rugby careers.

Qoro, remembered as the first forward in world rugby to score points from a field goal during the 1987 World Cup game against Italy, admitted his rise to fame started at the Nawaka 7s.

"I was only a village boy when I joined the village team for the Nawaka 7s in the 80s," the former Nadi and Fiji number 8 said.

"It was after this tournament that I made my debut for the Fiji 7s team before being selected to play at the 1987 World Cup where we became the first Fiji 15s team to reach the quarter-final.

"If it wasn't for the Nawaka 7s, I don't think I would have made it into the Fiji team."

Aria said the tournament not only groomed Nawaka players but produced stars from various teams in the country. And he believes a new rugby talent will be unearthed this weekend.

"The tournament is special to the people of Nawaka and most importantly to the players who started their rugby career there," said Aria.

"Over the years Nawaka villagers who were academically weak showcased their talent in this tournament and earned a living with rugby contracts.

"I am optimistic a new star will be born this weekend."

The two former national reps commended the support of Fiji Bitter and Paradise Beverages (Fiji) Ltd for sponsoring the event.

Sales & marketing and trade relations manager Joe Rodan said the company was grateful for the winning combination with the Nawaka Rugby Club.

The company gave $25,000 for this year's tournament.

"Fiji Bitter has been sponsoring the Nawaka Sevens for the past 27 years and one of our policies is for Fiji Bitter to support grassroots level rugby," he said.

"To expose untouched and hidden talented players and once exposed we might select them for the Fiji squad.

"Nawaka 7s gives an opportunity for players to showcase themselves and we know that there are a lot of young players out there who are knocking on the door of the Fiji team. Nawaka 7s sevens give them that opportunity.

"Fiji Bitter supports about 10 tournaments a year — its clubs we sponsor, not provinces or the national team.

"We are happy with sponsoring Nawaka sevens not because of identifying players but for the development of Nawaka itself.

"A lot of our players don't have it academically but they have talent in sports and we need a tournament like this to expose themselves.

"The players will use their god-given talents to make a living for themselves by playing overseas."

Tournament organiser Mataiasi Nabau says the standard was expected to better than last year's and thanked their major sponsor for their undying support.

He said the presence of national Vodafone 7s mentor Ben Ryan would inspire players to come out of their shells to be considered for national duties.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.65200.6330
JPY 56.024953.0249
GBP 0.32480.3168
EUR 0.42350.4115
NZD 0.71170.6787
AUD 0.66170.6367
USD 0.47670.4597

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 5th February 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Need speed
  2. NZ 7s final refereeing charade an embarrassment
  3. The origin of Fiji's sevens series
  4. Questions for ministers in Parliament
  5. Drugs, thefts on tour of duty
  6. Parliamentary sitting adjourned
  7. PM warns labourers
  8. Drug suspect caught in raid
  9. 'Drink lots of water'
  10. Carry out your duties, soldiers told

Top Stories this Week

  1. Suspended Tuesday (02 Feb)
  2. 49-year-old man arrested at Nadi airport Wednesday (03 Feb)
  3. 7s reaction Tuesday (02 Feb)
  4. Sevens changes Friday (05 Feb)
  5. Fiji picks up the pieces Thursday (04 Feb)
  6. Running brawl part of journey to Rio Wednesday (03 Feb)
  7. Rape victim speaks out Wednesday (03 Feb)
  8. No tattoo on rape suspect Thursday (04 Feb)
  9. Need speed Monday (08 Feb)
  10. Legal row Friday (05 Feb)