Analysis

Our Olympians Turn To Earn Big Bucks

 The bottom line is money, money, money- and 15s offers big bucks not 7s, and first up for Tuivuaka’s Zebre is the Johannesburg outfit, Lions on September 25, this is a way forward for our Olympians as they carve out their future on the rugby field.
03 Sep 2021 15:11
Our Olympians Turn To Earn Big Bucks
Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens team after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 29, 2021. Photo: Planet Rugby

It’s fitting that we wave and wish Asaeli Tuivuaka well as he signed for Italian club Zebre.

Famously known as ‘The Tank’ for his crushing defence and the ‘wave’ after he scores a try, he will play in a rebranded competition in Europe.

Tuivuaka will play in the United Rugby Championship, formerly known as the Pro-14 competition.

The name-change was a result of the four South Africans provincial teams, who normally play in Super Rugby, joining the 2021-22 season which kicks off later this month.

The Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls will play alongside the 12 existing sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales in a 16-team league.

And first up for Tuivuaka’s Zebre is the Johannesburg outfit, Lions on September 25.

Replacing the South African outfits Cheetahs and Southern Kings, the four teams aim to reshape the club rugby world in the northern hemisphere.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1G6SM23DvrEYARviokCMuxOnUv_kFzAAbdp6vfzM3LNQ/prefill

Right decision

The four former Super Rugby sides are eligible to play in the European Championship next season.

Fresh and on the market following the gold medal win the Tokyo Olympics last month,

Tuivuaka is making the right decision following into the footsteps of Jiuta Wainiqolo who left to join Top 14 giant Toulon in France last week.

The bottom line is money, money, money- and 15s offers big bucks not 7s.

Despite declaring his intention to play for the Fijian Drua in Super Rugby Pacific and the Rugby Sevens World Cup, the lure of the Euro dollar is hard to resist.

For a man playing provincial rugby for Namosi in the Skipper Cup Premiership, the offer is a lifetime opportunity.

This is a way forward for our Olympians as they carve out their future on the rugby field.

Former Flying Fijian Kameli Ratuvou and Samuela Vunisa who later played for Italy, played for Zebre RC.

Interestingly, Zebre RC included just four imports in the squad.

Listed as a centre, Tuivuaka will be joined by Australia 7s rep Junior Laloiti (fullback), Samoan Potu Leavasa (flanker/lock) who played for Counties Manukau in 2020 and prop Eduardo Bello from Argentina.

Flying Fijians flanker Mesulame Kunavula’s Edinburgh will host Wales side Scarlet on September 26.

The games will be played at Edinburgh Rugby Stadium on the back pitches at Murrayfield.

Meanwhile, the late confirmation of the Drua’s licence, coming two months after the original deadline for compliance, caused some players to ink new contracts.

Brian Thorburn, the Fiji Rugby Union’s General Manager Commercial told Pacific Beat:

“There are some players who had to make decisions on contracts elsewhere.

“But having said that we are really excited by the guys we’ve got, Fiji has such an enormous talent pool…we’re really confident that we’re going to be able to field a competitive team and bring some flair, high octane speed and excitement to the competition.”

But we need to kick things into gear soon as our Trans- Tasman counterparts are enjoying tons of game time already.

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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