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Serevi: I’m keen to help

December 31
09:40 2013

By ANASILINI RATUVA

Waisale Serevi aims to win gold medal for Fiji or any other nation at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In an interview with Radio Australia, the 7s rugby legend said the next three years would be very crucial for him as he wants to assist a national team to win gold.
Now based in USA, Serevi says his enthusiasm for rugby is as great as ever, he spells out his ambitions for the future and reflects on his first overseas assignment, in Japan
“I would love to be part of a national team going to the 2016 Olympic Games and winning gold,”Serevi said.
“The next three years will be crucial as we are all working towards 2016.”
Serevi assisted the team during the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai earlier this month winning for the first time in 15 years.
As the Fiji Rugby Union celebrates its Centennial year, Serevi reminisce the highlights of playing for Fiji.

Rugby highlights
“The two most memorable highlights of my rugby career are winning the 1997 and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens.
“Every Fijian celebrated our first victory in 1997,” Serevi said.
Fiji defeated South Africa in the final 24-21 in 1997.
Serevi stated that even though they were written off in the 2005, it was the experience that took them through.
“Our 2005 team consists of older players like Marika Vunibaka, Viliame Satala and Semisi Naevo and other countries

Waisale Serevi and his family celebrating Christmas with Santa in the US last week. From left; Una, Serevi, Junior, Santa, Karalaini, Asinate. Photo: SEREVI RUGBY

were writing us off. Even though we may be old and our fitness level was not that good we had the experience.
“I was 37 years old after the tournament the whole of Fiji was excited.”
Fiji defeated New Zealand 27-19 in the final to bring the Melrose Cup home.
Inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame this year, Serevi said the difference between Fijians and other ruggers from New Zealand and Australia.
“In Fiji people mature in rugby when they are 25 to 26 years old,”Serevi said.
“In New Zealand or Australia they mature at a very young age of 19 or 20 because they have the programme that they always go through froma young age.
In Fiji iji we do not have anything as such.”

Learning from the Japanese
The 45-year old learnt to utilize time in Kyoto, Japan where he signed his first contract for the Mitsubishi team in 1993.
“I was really excited when I was in Japan,”Serevi said.
“It was really tough going to Japan but I really had good friends in there
“Going there I learnt that the Japanese were the only people in the world that used time properly. They go to work they go 15 minutes ahead,” he said.
“That pushed me to utilize my time properly in terms of training and  travelling.”
Serevi had to learn Japanese language everyday to adjust to the environment he worked for at Mitsubishi Motors.
“There were about 4000 workers in there but I worked and play at the same time and assisted my team to get to the top eight in the Japanese competition.”
Serevi continued to play for Mitsubishi until 1997 before he joined English club Leicester on a two-year contract.
He was first approached by Leicester after he played against them for a World XV at Twickenham in 1996. He stayed at Leicester for only one season before moving to the French club Stade Montois in Mont-de-Marsan.

Time to give back to rugby
“Rugby is part of my life it’s assisted me to get to where I am today. Now we have Serevi Rugby operating in United States and I want to give back to rugby to assist and develop young players.
“Now I want to support the sport and encourage young kids that this is an amazing sport where you get to play in the world cup, Olympic Games, Commonwealth,” he added.
When asked if he still can play now that he is 45 years old Serevi replied he is still enjoying.
“ My advice to young kids is to set little goals in order to get to the big goal,” Serevi added.

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