Veremalua rejects American Football offer

Jasa Veremalua on attack for Fiji against Spain during their clash at FMG Stadium Hamilton, New Zealand. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

OFF-LOAD specialist Jasa Veremalua is one of the most wanted men in the oval ball game.

His outstanding performance in London with the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team backed up by his consistency at HSBC Paris 7s has grabbed the attention of overseas rugby clubs.

The lanky Korotogo native made his 7s debut in 2013 and despite age catching up on him at 30, his heart is and will always be to play for his beloved country.

Veremalua has been offered numerous lucrative overseas contracts over the past few years, but his passion for the 7s game and the love he has for Fiji has resulted in the Nadroga lad turning down those offers.

His breathtaking off-loads, audacious single-handed ball-handling skills and his aerial battle skills has not only attracted overseas rugby union clubs but it has even caught the eye of American Football teams.

The Rio Olympics Fiji 7s gold medallist has surprisingly turned down a very attractive American Football offer, saying he has some unfinished business with the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s side.

He said his aim was to help Fiji win the Rugby Sevens World Cup after the team’s semi-final loss to New Zealand in the last world cup.

“Yes, I can confirm that I was approached to play American Football,” said Veremalua, speaking to this newspaper.

“I was told that American Football teams mostly select players from universities and each year they always select one or two privileged players –– someone from outside university.

“The reason I turned down the offer was because it is a totally new sport to me. I know it will be hard to adjust to the game having played rugby union all my life and it will also take time for me to learn the laws of the game.

“But the real reason is I have been trying hard and long to secure a spot in the Fiji 7s team. I have managed to do that and now I want to fully utilise my rugby talents and proudly represent my country to my fullest potential.”

Veremalua said his aim now was to win a spot in the Fiji 7s team at the Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco next month.

“We fielded a good team at the last world cup with star players such as Leone Nakarawa, Lepani Botia, Nemani Nagusa, Alipate Ratini, Metuisela Talebula and Vereniki Goneva.”

“We lost to New Zealand in the semi-final and that game still haunts me today.

“This is will motivate me to work hard and be selected in the final 12-member team for the next month’s rugby 7s world cup.”

The world cup will be held on July 20-22.

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