A star in the making

Aminiasi Tuimaba runs away to score against France in Dubai last week. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA

HE may be the new kid on the block but Aminiasi Tuimaba has fast stamped his authority as a rising star after donning the Fiji Airways national 7s number 11 jersey — the jumper that used to be donned by Eroni “The Sledgehammer” Sau last season.

Born and raised on Vio Island — a tiny islet located just across the Lautoka Fisheries Wharf — the Yasawa-i-Rara flyer’s journey also followed a similar path to that taken by Sau where he also spent a few years playing rugby league before switching to 7s rugby.

Rugby runs in Aminiasi Tuimaba’s blood. He is a cousin of former All Blacks rep Seta Tamanivalu.

He was also a member of the Ba Provincial Freebird Institute and Saru Dragons rugby league team — the same teams Eroni “Sledgehammer” Sau played for before joining the Fiji 7s team.

He also spent a few months playing rugby league in the Cook Islands before joining the Vio and the Yasawa teams for local 7s competitions.

A committed Christian, Tuimaba doesn’t drink in alcohol beverages nor does he smoke cigarettes and before entering the rugby arena, he was also a sprinter and winger during his high school days.

His namesake grandfather and No.1 fan who raised him since birth said he was not surprised with his grandson’s amazing achievements.

Tuimaba Sr said his namesake was a gifted athlete having represented his school in athletics, rugby league and union. He said his unwavering faith in the Almighty Lord also contributed to his rugby success.

“I looked after him from his childhood days at Vio Island and I thank the Lord for his guidance and blessing allowing my namesake to fulfil his rugby dream,” said Tuimaba Sr.

“He is a gifted sportsman I am not surprised with his rugby accomplishments so far. “He doesn’t drink nor smoke and is a devoted Christian which is the one of the main reasons of his success.”

Tuimaba Sr said the new Fiji 7s flyer always trained every afternoon in Lautoka since there was no playing ground in Vio.

“He never misses any afternoon training in Lautoka and also attended every Sunday devotion at Saru Assemblies of God in Lautoka.

“He is a good listener and a hardworking boy. Rugby was part of his life during his childhood days.”

The 7s flyer joined the Republic of Fiji Military Forces while playing for the Yasawa team and was later recruited in the national team for the Japan 7s tour early this year.

He made his debut at the HSBC World Rugby Dubai 7s tournament last week and scored the winning try against series defending champion South Africa the plate final.

Coach Gareth Baber is eyeing the new Yasawa flyer as one of the players to watch this weekend at the Cape Town 7s.

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