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Match made in heaven

Luke Rawalai
Sunday, March 04, 2018

THEY say love comes to those who wait and this phrase rings true for Taveuni native and former Super Rugby player Semisi Masirewa.

Growing up on the island of Taveuni during his early years, Masirewa did not dream of playing professional rugby in Australia where he would also meet the love of his life.

Rugby took him to New Zealand first, and then Perth in Western Australia, where he met the apple of his eye — Clara Kruger.

Mr Masirewa said the sacrifices he made to make it big in professional rugby were all paid in kind when he met Clara.

The humble boy from Vuna in Taveuni never dreamt of exchanging vows against a tropical background somewhere in Savusavu before close family and friends who had made the journey to his big day a worthy experience.

"It all started with a spark and it happened when the right person walks into your life, suddenly making everything beautiful and meaningful," he said.

"They make the sacrifices sweeter and worth it at the end. I was an island boy trying to make a living out of rugby and she was a Perth girl who had just begun her career in the teaching profession, which makes us worlds apart but with the same aspirations of establishing ourselves in the big world.

"However, I think that love is the substance that melts all differences between two people and I think that is what happened in our case."

Masirewa said since Clara and their son Fletcher walked into his life, they changed his life.

"With the birth of our son Fletcher late last year, it has helped me mellow down a bit and look at life differently," he said.

"He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and is the gem that has made our love stronger.

"Having a child just makes you realise how precious life is and it puts it all in perspective.

"I never used to get too wound up or worried about things but now with the smallest little things, you well up a little more, you get affected by the sort of things that happen around you involving children."

Having the wedding in Savusavu was special for Masirewa because it had been his second home when he was growing up as a young boy.

Choosing Savusavu as the venue of the wedding made the event special to him because most of his close family and childhood friends still live in Savusavu and were just a phone call away. The wedding also made it easy for relatives from the Garden Island to be part of the special event.

Addressing close family members and friends at the wedding reception, an emotional Masirewa paid homage to his late dad, Paul Masirewa, who could not be part of this lifetime achievement.

"He has always been my idol and was the person who always encouraged to pursue my dreams no matter what," he said.

"However, I am happy to have my mother, Anamaria Babakula Masirewa, at the wedding with my brother Paul Masirewa Jr who was my best man and other siblings.

"Even after my father passed on, I have been able to become successful in my sporting career because of the tonnes of prayers and support that I received from family and close friends.

"I think that is the best thing about being Fijian because we always have someone to fall back on no matter what happens we are a very communal people."

Meanwhile, for Clara having her immediate families including her brother Haydn Kruger, mother and father, Anton and Ethne Kruger at the wedding was very special for her.

The outspoken Clara said she loved the "Fijianess" in Masirewa and that was the one aspect that made him stand out from the crowd.

"There is always something about the way he talks and laughs, that is very genuine and sets him apart," she said.

"Experiencing Fiji for the first time and meeting his family, I have been swept off my feet because I just love them.

"I love the hospitality of the Fijian person which is something genuine and reminds me of my husband a lot.

"Having the wedding in Savusavu was special for me because of the location of the wedding and the tropical bliss experience that Fiji has to offer."

Clara said having a sports person as a partner for life was a bit challenging for her and Fletcher because it meant being separated from Masirewa especially during the training season.

"But with love and understanding, everything is possible and being away from each other I guess just makes the relationship stronger," she said.

"Since he started his club games in Japan this year we will be starting our family in Japan officially as the Masirewas.

"I am so happy that he is happy to be with his family and having my immediate family and best friend who is my bridesmaid is a plus for me."

The family, as per their plans, enjoyed Fiji a bit more after the wedding before jetting off to their new home in Japan.

Clara is originally from South Africa and grew up in New Zealand before her family moved to Perth in Australia.

As for those pursuing a career in rugby and to those living in a relationship, Masirewa has this to say: "Stay true to yourself because it takes sacrifice and determination to get to where you are headed to be it rugby.

"Decision-making is crucial and you need to make the right ones at the right time.

"Never fear to ask for advice from those older than you because they have lived it and seen it all."

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