Jasa strikes a gold mine

Jasa Veremalua and his family. Picture: SUPPLIED

OLYMPIC gold medallist Jasa Veremalua and his family will be spending the remainder of the year and Christmas in the United States.

The lanky forward will not be part of the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team to the 2018-2019 World Rugby Sevens Series because he has signed a contract with the San Diego Legion Rugby Club in California.

SDL is an American professional rugby union team based in San Diego.

It was founded in 2017 and competes in major league rugby.

Veremalua, an Olympian, finally pens an overseas contract after turning down lucrative offers in past years to help Fiji win its first Olympic Games gold medal under coach Ben Ryan.

The two-year deal includes a house, a car, full time employment with the new club as a development consultant, apart from playing.

Veremalua said it was the power of praying and believing that an opportunity such as this would come.

“I had offers from France in 2013, but I got injured. “I received another call in France, but I turned it down because I was preparing for the Olympics. I believe it’s all God’s plan for me,” Veremalua said.

Former Fijiana 7s team coach to the Rio Olympics, Chris Cracknel is the assistant coach for the San Diego Legion Rugby Club.

“During the preparation to the Rugby World Cup Sevens, Kolinisau called me that Chris wanted to have a chat regarding this contract and I asked Ropate Kauvesi to guide me through this contract because I have a family and I want the best for them.

“The contract offered me a house, a car, a chance for education and a different package was my job as a development consultant for the club’s youth team.”

Kauvesi said Veremalua had done a lot for this country in the local and international scenery of 7s rugby.

“Jasa made his debut in the 2012/2013 Series in the Wellington 7s. Since then he has given his time to the country and to the development of rugby in Fiji,” Kauvesi said.

“It’s a great opportunity and he deserves it and at the end of the day it’s him and his family.”

Veremalua started from the Senibiau Rugby Club in Nadroga.

“I thank the Senibiau rugby 15s team in Korotogo Village in Nadroga and the Red Rock Rugby Club for spotting a unique talent for Fiji and not forgetting the Fiji Hideaway Hurricanes 7s team for grooming him and offering employment for Jasa to support his family,” Kauvesi said.

Veremalua, 29, departs with his family on the first week of next month and will start off with his new club in November 26 when their off-season begins.

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