Future star: Wakeham eyes national rugby team spot
22 August, 2018, 12:57 pm
FIFTEEN-year-old Jeneiro Paul Wakeham of Suva Grammar School will be a name to remember in future for Fiji rugby.
The former Holy Cross College student of Taveuni is 2.03 metres tall and is part of the Fiji under-16 rugby team that will be participating in the Australian Inter-state Championship next month.
Identified by the Fiji Rugby Union development officials in Vanualevu, Wakeham’s height will be an advantage for Fiji rugby in the future.
Wakeham said after he received the call from the FRU he knew he would be opening a new chapter of his life that he never had expected.
“When I answered the phone call from Bill Gadolo, I thought it was the police, but when he told me that he can help develop my rugby skills to be a future Flying Fijian, I knew this is an opportunity to pursue my dream as a young rugby player,” Wakeham said.
The Cakaudrove lad will not waste the opportunity given to him as it will be a life changing experience.
“To be hand picked and be part of the national development program organised by the FRU is an honour especially when we are based in the North. I know there is more to learn and I’m still growing, but I will try my best to don the national jumper before I focus on overseas contracts,” Wakeham said.
“Leone Nakarawa is an inspiration, especially with his off-loading skills, and I know with the right training, I can be the next Nakarawa or the next man mountain (Semisi Naevo) but I’m still a young rugger learning the basics of rugby and trying to become a professional player for the Fiji team. Nakarawa is 1.98m tall and is ranked as one of the top three best players in the world, but the 2.03m student believe nothing is impossible to become number one.
“My dad told me to look up to Nakarawa because of his achievements in the world of rugby and make it my aim to be like him in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Fiji under-16 rugby team will be training in Nadi throughout the week before the final 26-member squad is selected for the tour.
In the under-16 grade, 30 extended players have been selected to prepare for the Australian Inter-State Rugby competition that will be held on the Gold Coast, Australia on September 29.
Only 26 players will be selected to represent Fiji.