WHEN Roy Ravana approached Ifereimi Tawake for an opportunity to join the Sacramento Lions Rugby Union Club, the former Flying Fijian had no idea who he was.
But the former Flying Fijian rep and coach soon found out that the former high school athlete's prowess was not on the tracks alone.
"We became the northern California champs in 15s and have just returned from playing the semi-finals in Texas," Tawake, who is head coach of the Sacramento Club said.
"This is the first time Sacramento has come this far and Roy had a lot to do with it. He was instrumental in our winning streak scoring the tries that mattered."
Tawake said Ravana's tragic death would be felt by the Sacramento Lions and rugby followers, as well as the Fijian community in the area.
"He came to me just over a month ago to ask if he could maintain his fitness by playing rugby," he shared.
"I didn't know who he was but when I found out he was a sprinter, I placed him on the wing.
"For someone new to the game, he was a natural and through him we began winning.
"Last week we travelled to Texas for the national rugby semi-finals.
"Roy will be missed for his winning tries and also for his sense of humour."
Tawake said as news of Ravana's death spread through the community, well-wishers and rugby supporters began calling in with sympathy messages.
"He had brought us glory and was a rising star in northern California rugby."
Mr Tawake added that the rugby club and his friends were anticipating a fundraising barbeque to raise funds for his return to college.