For mum, dad

Semi Kunatani lines up a shot as he enjoys his day off with a game of billiards at the Hyatt Regency hotel in San Francisco, USA. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

WARHORSE Semi Kunatani is ready for some astonishing rugby 7s display in this year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens as a tribute to his two special fans — mum and dad.

This 7s event would be his first biggest 7s tournament to play without the presence of his dad — the man who singly raised Kunatani more than 10 years ago to be the player he is now.

Kunatani was only 17 years old when his mother passed away and since then his dad has been there all along.

He said his dad always farewelled and greeted him at the Nadi International Airport every time he departed the country for international rugby assignments.

But things were not the same after Kunatani departed for the world cup 7s and he wanted to dedicate this tournament to his late dad likewise for his late mother.

“Just last month I commemorated the one year of my dad’s death and it really hurts me to realise he is no longer,” said Kunatani.

“He was always there for me and I will give my best for him and mum during the world cup.

“This is my first rugby world cup and I want to make it a memorable one for my parents.”

Dubbed as “The Beast” in the rugby battlefield because of his ferocious tackles and smashing hits, Kunatani was at his usual best form during the training runs in San Francisco this week. He said the solid two weeks training in Utah best prepared him for this world cup campaign. The Rio Olympics Fiji 7s gold medallists said the side had a good chance of winning the world cup.

“My two weeks in Utah was tough and solid and I thanked the officials for the idea because it really improves my fitness.

“As for the boys — this is a good chance for us but we cannot afford to underestimate any teams because we all have equal chances of winning,” he added.

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