Weather Fiji, Suva   Max 30°C, Min 23°C

Fiji Sun


Rugby Mourns A Gentle Giant

Rugby Mourns A Gentle Giant
January 30
10:01 2015

Teammates of former Fiji lock forward/captain Ilaitia Savai attended his funeral at his village in Nakalawaca, Namara, Tailevu yesterday.

Among family and friends shocked to hear the news of Savai’s death was former Fiji teammate Mosese Taga.

Taga remembered the Nakalawaca, Namara man as a ‘gentle giant’ who never swor and gave 100 per cent commitment to every game he played.

“Savai was a giant with a gentle heart,” Taga said.

“To be honest I have not heard him swear in all my time with him. That speaks volume about this man. He was silent but works hard at whatever he does. A team player, always putting the team first in everything he does.

“He always gave 100 per cent in the games he played. He was an international player and played for Queensland, Waikato as well as Fiji, Nadroga, Suva and Nadi. Again, it shows how he could adapt to any environment he was thrown in and keep the number 4 jersey. That speaks volume about this Nakalawaca giant.”

Taga had many fond memories of Savai and many memorable experiences.

“We went to my village when we were playing for QVSOB and all the kids in the village were looking at his ears and were saying; look at his ears! Gosh! What big ears he has!

“It shows the scars of the many battles that Savai has fought for Suva, Nadi, Nadroga and Fiji.”

Above all, Taga remembered Savai for the wonderful human being he was and relayed his condolences to his family.

“He was a very good person, player, friend and brother. I will miss him now but I know we will meet up sometime later. My thoughts are with his family and may the Good Lord continue to bless them.”

Hailing from the village of Nakalawaca, Namara in Tailevu, Savai made his test debut for Fiji in 1984 at the age of 24 when they played and lost to Australia 3-16 and scored his first try for Fiji in their opening match at the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup when they beat Argentina 28-10.

A powerhouse lock that stood at 6’5’, Savai moved up the ranks when he was selected to captain the national side against a Japan Selection in 1990 and served as captain for another 10 tests that year.

Savai once again made the cut for the national squad to the 1991 Rugby World Cup where Fiji unfortunately lost all three pool games. Savai played his final test in the Fiji colours in 1995 against a touring England A in which Fiji won 59-25.

Throughout his career, Savai capped 38 international tests, played 91 games, scored six tries and amassed 26 points.

Savai was laid to rest yesterday in his village in Tailevu with his funeral being attending by representatives of the Fiji Rugby Union including chief executive officer Radrodro Tabualevu and former teammates Samuela Vunivalu and Koli Rakoroi.

Tabualevu presented the FRU’s condolences to the Savai family for their loss.

“The FRU presented its reguregu to Savai’s relatives at his village in Tailevu. The FRU acknowledges his exemplary service. He was a loyal and dedicated member of Fiji Rugby.”

Meanwhile, Nadi and Fiji sports administrator Bobby Tikaram was shocked to hear of the news.

It is indeed sad to hear the sudden and untimely passing away of our humble gentle giant and rugby legend Ilaitia Savai,”Tikaram said.

“His passing away is not only a loss to FRU but all rugby lovers of Fiji.

“I used to meet Savai once in awhile in Nadi town and the towering giant would never go past before saying ‘Bula Mr Tikaram’.

“That’s how humble and down to earth person he was and indeed a wonderful person to know.”





Related Articles

you said it
"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend
January 2015
« Dec   Feb »

Latest Photo Gallery

Fijisun Online @Instagram