2018 RWC 7s: Down memory lane
17 July, 2018, 12:30 pm
FORMER Fiji 7s rep Lemeki Koroi will always cherish the famous 1997 Melrose Cup win.
Koroi said he was proud to be one of the players who helped Fiji win the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
He said fitness was their main weapon which enabled Fiji to win its first rugby world cup 7s title.
Koroi said the memories of winning the Melrose Cup would remain with him forever.
“I am blessed to be part of that winning team and I will always cherish the moment,” he said.
“That team was one of the fittest teams to leave our shores and the boys played as a unit which enabled us to create history. “Our coach always told us that no one will die or has died if you train hard and this always motivated me to break new barriers.”
Koroi, who was a specialist rover for the then Prisons rugby team and an inside centre in 15s, was drafted to play halfback by 1997 Fiji 7s coach Rupeni Ravonu (late).
He said he was not new to the position having played halfback at school for Nasinu Secondary School.
“Switching positions did not affect my game because I had been playing halfback at school.
“The main thing is fitness. Once you are fit, I believe you can play anywhere and can also do anything with confidence on the field. “During our time, we hardly go to the gym, but we spend most of the time hitting the road running. I believe that contributed to our win.”
Koroi said they played their hearts out for the country during the world cup and denied South Africa from winning the final.
That 1997 team consisted of Waisale Serevi (captian), Jope Tuikabe, Luke Erenavula, Aminiasi Natuiyaga, Leveni Duvuduvukula, Koroi, Manasa Bari, Marika Vunibaka, Inoke Maraiwai, Taniela Qauqau.
Tabua in the team Former Flying Fijians head coach Ilivasi Tabua also featured at the 1993 Rugby World Cup 7s in Scotland.
Dubbed as the ‘Human Skewer’ for his bone-smashing tackles, the former Wallabies flanker featured alongside David Campese, Mathew Burke, Michael Lynagh and Willie Ofahengaue for the Aussies.
Tabua, who played for the Flying Fijians after playing for Australia, was one of the key players in the Australian side at the 7s world cup. Unfortunately the side failed to win the event. Meanwhile, former national rep Paulo Nawalu also represented Japan in the same year.
Interestingly there was no Fijian in the New Zealand 7s team, but renowned players that played for the Kiwis that year were Todd Blackadder, Frank Bunce, Pat Lam, Glenn Osborne, Eric Rush, Junior Paramore and Dalas Seymour.
Samoa had Lolani Koko, Brian Lima, and To’o Vaega and Alama Ieremeia Harriman 1993 hero Former England 7s flyer Andrew Harriman stole the show during the 1993 world cup helping his team to lift the first Melrose Cup.
The England skipper outpaced one of the best wingers in the world and master goose stepper in Australian David Campese during the final.
Harriman’s blistering speed was a thorn to the star-studded Australia side which was boosted by some key Wallabies players such as Campese, Mathew Burke, Michael Lynagh and Willie Ofahengaue.
Harriman’s pace also destroyed Fiji’s hope in the semi-final. Argentina and Japan were winners of the Plate and Bowl respectively.