FRU invests in rugby locks

Sean Marcus Algar, left, and Jeneiro Wakeham before the Fiji U16 team training session at the National Fitness Centre in Suva on Monday, September 17, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

FIJI could have found an answer to its lock forward woes in international rugby.

Thanks to former Flying Fijians prop Viliame ‘Bill’ Gadolo, he has found what could be Fiji’s two tallest rugby players in the form of Jeneiro Wakeham and Sean Algar.

The young men are part of the 26-member Fiji U16 squad to the 2018 Australian Junior Rugby Championship. Wakeham, 15, a former Holy Cross College student in Taveuni and from Matalaqere Village in Savusavu, is 2.03 metres.

Gadolo found this tall timber walking on the road from his school one day last year, while on rugby development tour in the North.

“He is probably one of the tallest Fiji rugby players we will ever have,” Gadolo, a former school teacher said.

“I spoke rugby to him and he was interested. We met again in an identification program in Taveuni and since then he has been on our radar. He has the height and we just have to groom him well to become a better player.”

Wakeham has rugby in his blood. Gadolo helped him being transferred to Suva Grammar School where he plays in the U15 grade. His father is from New Zealand – a Maori. He has maternal links to the Wakehams in Vanua Levu.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to be in the national team and I know it’s an open door to show my talent and use my height well,” said Wakeham.

“I wanted to be like rugby players who are famous. I want to play overseas and get good rugby skills.

“My dream is to one day wear the Fiji white jersey.”

Algar, who is from England, has maternal links in Totoya, Lau.

He lives with his mother in Suva after his father died in 2009.

He is a student of Queen Victoria School. He is 1.97m, just short of his Flying Fijian mentor, Leone Nakarawa, who is 1.98m. “My mother is my hero. She stood by us day and night and that’s why I am able to come this far.” Algar said.

Their coach Masi Saqanavere said the pair would be assets to the Fiji team in the future.

“We are trying to use them in our set pieces, develop our attack and we know there will be 99 per cent of winning line-out,” he said.

“We are trying to develop their skills and keep them in the Fiji team.”

Meanwhile, the Fiji U16 and 18 rugby squads march into camp in Suva today. They had been training together at the HPU Gym in Suva during the past few weeks.

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