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Rubuti Jr plays his first game

Josefa Makaba
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

APIMELEKI Rubuti Jr played his first competitive rugby match when he lined up for his International Secondary School under-15 team on Saturday.

The 13-year-old joined International School early this year after studying in Lebanon for the past eight years. Rubuti Jr's father and namesake was a former Fiji soldier who had moved with his family to the Middle East to work.

After eight years in Beirut, Lebanon the Rubuti family returned to Fiji in February and the young man told his dad that he wanted to play rugby.

Mum Salanieta said they were surprised when Rubuti Jr wanted to try out rugby after only playing soccer during his school days in Beirut.

"He was a very good soccer player and was selected in a soccer academy over there and toured parts of the Middle East with his academy," Sala said.

Rubuti Jr quickly made his presence felt during the ISS U15 training sessions and was named in their side that took part in the Fiji Secondary Schools 7s tournament held at Suva Grammar School grounds last Saturday.

The ISS U15 team played RKS and Lelean.

The Naidi, Savusavu lad said he had never played competitive rugby during his time in Lebanon and the only rugby he saw during his time in that war-torn country was when he and his family went across to Dubai in 2009 to watch the Sevens World Cup.

Rubuti Jr said he wanted to improve his knowledge and understanding of the game and his dream was to become a Flying Fijian player one day.

The young man who has maternal links to Raralevu Village in Tailevu said his idol was former national sevens skipper and coach Waisale Serevi.

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