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Editorial: Make A Mark In 7s, Make A Living In 15s

Editorial: Make A Mark In 7s, Make A Living In 15s
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s players (from left) Amenoni Nasilasila, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Apenisa Cakaubalavu and Waisea Nacuqu at the Los Angeles International Airport, USA, on July 3, 2018. Photo: SouthBay Davui
July 08
11:16 2018

Sevens rugby is now more mainstream than ever since it was included as an Olympic sport in 2016.

It has attracted large TV audiences, massive tournament attendances and fitter, faster players than ever before. It’s now serious business, promoting rugby at grassroots and the highest level and simultaneously generating revenue for World Rugby.

But is there money to be made for the players themselves?

As for our reps and other tier two rugby nations, barely.

Our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s players are contracted and given allowances when they go to camp and during the World Sevens Series.

Tier one countries can afford to employ their sevens players fulltime in rugby’s short code and earn dual salaries by contracting them to play in club or provincial teams.

This should be a message for our reps in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA preparing for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.

They should play 15s and not spend so much time in the abbreviated code if they want to look after their families.

Some of them like Jasa Veremalua have been playing 7s for the last five years.

If they want to make a living out of rugby, the RWCS should be a stepping stone to 15s.

The Australian National Rugby Championship (NRC) kicks off in September and they should use it as a launching pad for their 15s career.

Fiji Airways Fijian Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula is already eyeing to get Mesulame Kunavula and Paula Dranisinukula.

Team captain Seremaia Tuwai has indicated that RWCS would be his last.

Playmaker Vatemo Ravouvou could be one of the contenders for the No. 10 position to assist Ben Volavola and Alivereti Veitokani.

Our reps should seek guidance from squad members Leone Nakarawa, Semi Radradra and Semi Kunatani who enjoyed the best of both codes in playing sevens and making a living through 15s rugby.

Nakarawa played at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, 2013 RWCS in Moscow, 2015RWC in United Kingdom, 2016 Rio Olympics and for European clubs Glasgow Warriors in Scotland and now Racing 92 in France;

Radradra played for the Fiji U20 in 2011, played only one season in the World Sevens Series in 2013 before he switched to National Rugby League (NRL) for the Parramatta Eels.

Last year he joined Top 14 club Toulon in France and will team up with Bordeaux in August. He made his debut for Fiji Airways Flying Fijians last month;

Kunatani made his debut at the Dubai 7s in 2013, signed for Top 14 club Toulouse in 2015, 2016 Rio Olympics and made his debut for the Flying Fijians last year.

While we wish our 7s reps the best as they prepare to descend into San Francisco on July 20-22, rugby has more to offer after the RWCS.

Already they have made a mark and a name in sevens.

But 15s is where the money is if they want to make a living out of rugby.

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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