Fijian Sevens legend makes switch to XV-man game

2018-12-14 11:46
Jerry Tuwai
Jerry Tuwai (AP)

Cape Town - Fijian Sevens star Ser­emaia "Jerry" Tuwai is set to become the latest Olympic gold medal winner to quit the Sevens circuit and move into the XV-a side game.

According to the RugbyPass website, the news comes following Tuwai’s 100th try which helped Fiji win the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series earlier this month and provides a fitting finale after 13 years in national colours.

Two years after helping Fiji to Olympic glory in Rio, the Fiji Sun website says he is waiting for Fiji Rugby Union clearance to allow him to head to the USA where the new professional rugby competition is about to start its second year.

Already making a living in the longer form of the sport are fellow Fijian Sevens stars Semi Kunatani (UK), Savenaca Rawaca (France), Osea Kolinisau (USA), Viliame Mata (Scotland), Jasa Ver­emalua (USA), Josua Tuisova and Leone Nakarawa (France).

Besides becoming an Olympic gold medal winner the 29-year-old led his country to five sevens series titles during the 2017/18 season, including four in a row, plus a silver medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and fourth place at the World Cup in San Francisco.

The loss of Tuwai, known as Jerry, is the latest blow to hit the Fiji Sevens squad, but while it removes vital experience, the squad continues to produce exciting new talent. Tuwai’s decision comes shortly after Super Rugby chiefs knocked back the latest attempt to have a Pacific Islands team included in that competition to help stop the drain of players from the region.

Growing up, Tuwai used to play rugby with plastic bottles and bundled-up T-shirts on the streets of Newtown on the outskirts of Suva and his move to XVs will help his family’s financial future.

Tuwai’s mother Seruwaia Vualiku told CNN previously: “I knew I wouldn’t worry about food, about clothes. And Jerry did that for us; for me, my husband and my children. It’s not me, it’s not my husband. It’s God. Because I know I didn’t dream that one day Jerry will be a superstar, a rugby player like this. It was all in God’s plan.

Tuwai joins Blitzboks star Rosco Specman in making the move to the XV-man game. Specman has joined the Bulls as they prepare for next year's Super Rugby campaign.

Specman follows in the footsteps of his former team-mates Seabelo Sen­atla (Stormers) and Kwagga Smith (Lions) who seized their opportunities and are now adding firepower to their respective Super Rugby teams.

In addition, Western Province centre Ruhan Nel formed part of the Springbok squad during their recent November interna­tionals.

Read more on:    fiji  |  sevens  |  rugby


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