Unsung hero – Nasoko strides on to fulfill rugby dream

Kalione Nasoko of Fiji Airways Fiji 7's team in action against Samoa during the first day of the HSBC World Rugby Hong Kong series in Hong Kong 2018. Picture: RAMA

ALL eyes are on high profile overseas-based players Josua “The bus” Tuisova, Semi Radradra, Semi Kunatani and Leone Nakarawa for the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

So much so that some of our committed local heroes who have played their hearts out throughout the season for the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team seem to have taken the back seat. One such player is Yasawa flyer Kalione Nasoko.

The 27-year-old utility made his debut at the 2017 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Dubai 7s tournament. Since then, he hasn’t missed a single world 7s tournament and capped his performance this year when he was named in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Dream Team.

It was a huge achievement for a player who had silently been sacrificing and training for the past 10 years, pounding the surf along the white sandy beach at his village in Waya, Yasawa.

All that hard work paid off when he made it into the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team and the icing on the cake was his selection to represent the country at the Rugby World Cup 7s.

“I have been training hard to fulfil my dream of representing Fiji in 7s rugby,” said Nasoko.

“And after I had achieved my dream, the next challenge was to keep working hard and to retain my spot. “It’s not easy, there are a lot of sacrifices — I don’t smoke and I don’t drink. This has allowed me to consistently perform well for two seasons.”

Nasoko said being named in the Rugby World Cup 7s team was a new chapter of achievement in his 7s journey. He said he would live up to the faith placed in him by coach Gareth Baber and the management team.

“I thank the coach for having faith in me and they made sure I did not miss any single tournament. “I thank my wife, dad and all those who have been there for me throughout my rugby career.”

Baber said Nasoko deserved his spot in the RWC 7s team.

“He has grown in maturity as well bearing in mind he has been in this environment for 19 months.”

“He is a great footballer and has good game understanding and physically with 105kgs, he is the same as Kunatani. “I am blessed to have someone who can play and who is also one of the quickest in the team. He doesn’t give away many penalties and deserved the credit to be in the team,” said Baber.

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