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Flashback – Legends that played at the Marist 7s

Flashback – Legends that played at the Marist 7s
PAULO NAWALU
February 22
11:00 2017

Once it was a dream of many of our rugby greats to put on their boots and play in the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s tournament. It was the only tournament in the country that they looked forward to.

Now 41 years later, nothing has changed as all focus is on Friday, March 24, for the kickoff of the Fiji Bitter sponsored 2-day tournament. Today, we’ll travel down memory lane and take a look at three of our rugby greats that had played in this prestigious tournament.

PAULO NAWALU

The wily halfback played for St John Marist during the 1983 and 1984 Marist 7s, formerly known as the St John Marist 7s tournament.

He missed selection for the national 7s team in 1983 but made it up when he played for the national fifteens team that beat Queensland 48-24 and Sydney (now NSW Waratahs) 33-19 before  losing to Auckland (31-10) at the National Stadium in Suva.

Nawalu made it to the national 7s team in 1984 where they won in Hong Kong after beating New Zealand 26-0 in the final. He later went on to represent Japan in 7s rugby before becoming their head coach in 1995.

 

ISEI NASIGANIYAVI

In 1986, the slick running Nasiganiyavi was the star of the Saint John Marist 7s (now known as Marist 7s) tournament. Playing for Police, the Namatakula native had caused an impression on the late George Reade. Despite Police bowing out of the elimination stages, Nasiganiyavi was named the player of the tournament and also made it to the national sevens team for Hong Kong.

The following year, he joined Queensland Reds for the Super 6 competition (now known as Super Rugby) and later represented the Australian 7s team.

His sons are Vodafone Flying Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo who is playing for Montpellier in France and Chris Kuridrani who is with the Reds.

 

MANASA QORO

The big forward who runs like a wing represented Nawaka at the 1987 Marist 7s, formerly known as the St John Marist 7s tournament.

He instantly became a household name and was roped into the national sevens team by coach, the late Aliposo Waqailiti.

Although Fiji lost to New Zealand 12-6 in the final, they stole the hearts of the fans in Hong Kong when they beat Australia 14-8 in the semi-final.

The highlight of the tournament was when Qoro chased and caught the legendary Wallaby winger David Campese who was still in his prime.

The Nawaka strongman then made it to the national fifteens team to the 1987 Rugby World Cup where he created history by being the first forward to slot in a drop goal during their pool clash against Italy.

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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