Top 7s award

IT does not come as a surprise that nippy halfback Seremaia Tuwai Vunisa (Jerry Tuwai) has been short-listed as one of the three nominees for the 2017 World Rugby men’s 7s Player of the Year Award alongside American gasman Baker and South Africa’s speed merchant Specman.

Jerry broke into the limelight with a spectacular performance at the 2014 Gold Coast 7s, which Fiji won after defeating Samoa 31-24.

Jerry was named player of the tournament at the 2014 World Club 7s where he played for Davetalevu and was also the standout player at the 2015 Las Vegas Sevens final when Fiji beat NZ 35-19 and 2015 Player of the Dubai 7s final where Fiji beat England.

The Newtown-born made headlines when he won gold in Rio.

Tuwai is a product of good parenting and a good rugby coach. Coming from a humble background and a home that struggled, but was held together because his soft-spoken parents were strict with discipline.

Jerry found in Ryan a coach who understood his needs and moulded and guided him. After his success in 7s, Jerry was able to pay for his siblings’ school needs and furnished his house with things that parents dream of.

After winning the gold medal, Jerry was able to change people’s perception about Newtown.

Jerry is earmarked to replace Kolinisau as the captain of the 7s team and if he is able to get the award that eluded players such as Kunatani and Kolinisau, it’ll be an added cap to his illustrious 7s career.

Apart from Viriviri (2014) no other Fiji 7s team player has won the award.

Amor was the first player to walk away with the distinguished award and the likes of Orene Ai’i, Uale Mai, Pelenise, Forbes, Ollie Philips, Pesamino, Afrika, Cama, Mikkelson, Kok and Senatla honoured the list of Best 7s Player.

For two consecutive years Fijians were upset with the awards as Kunatani and Oscar missed out. I hope that the awards committee will use logic and not emotions to make their decision.

As for now, it’s time for Jerry’s parents and those living in Newtown to thank God for giving them a son, who is among the top three best 7s players in the world and is making a name for himself.

My best wishes to the little master. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam

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