Fiji Sports

My life in 21 years

Written By : MOIZ MUNIF. Sevens legend Waisale Serevi says he had been underestimated in 15s and preferred to train instead of party in the festive season for more than
01 Jan 2009 12:00

image Written By : MOIZ MUNIF. Sevens legend Waisale Serevi says he had been underestimated in 15s and preferred to train instead of party in the festive season for more than two decades.
Yesterday Serevi recalled with SunSports his life in the past 21 years after he made his debut for Fiji in 1988.
A year later he made his debut at the Hong Kong Sevens and So Kon Po has never seen anything like it before.
A star was born who helped catapulted the code to another level. But he did it the hard way.
Since 1988 Serevi opted to escape the end of year festive season to make sure he was prepared and ready in order to make the national sevens side to the HK 7s.
“My debut was interesting and playing in the Hong Kong 7s for the very first time was great for me. I then set a goal in life to play at every Hong Kong 7s tournament I could. Since 1988 there was no festive season for me and do my training instead,” Serevi said.
As the country marked a New Year yesterday, the current Digicel National sevens head coach marked what would be his 21st year in rugby.
“I thank God for all I have been able to achieve and not achieved in rugby. I have been enjoying myself for the last 21 years,” he said.
Serevi made it three in a row at Hong Kong (1990-92) along with victories in 1998, 1999 followed by two World Cup 7s title in 1997 (HK) and 2005 (HK).
Also he won two silver and one bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games; He also guided Fiji to its first IRB sevens series title in 2006 as a coach and player.
He said the two WC 7s victories was the best moment for him in his career.
“The best thing that has happened in my rugby is winning the WC 7s title two times,” Serevi said.
The maestro also said he was underestimated in 15s.
“15s has been good for me as I played in the 1991, 1999 and 2003 WC’s I enjoyed it. A lot of coaches along the line said that I could not play 15s rugby. But whenever I got the chance to play I made full use of it. I often came in as an impact player,” he said.
Serevi also had his share of disappointments in his career. He marks 1993 and 2000 and last year as the dark years.
“In 1993 we (Fiji 7s side) had aimed for a four-year- in-row title run in Hong Kong but we lost to Samoa. 2000 I was away overseas and wanted to play in the Hong Kong 7s. I was not given a chance. That was disappointing and a lot of people advised me not to come back for Fiji Rugby,” he said.
Last year Fiji lost the IRB World Sevens series title to New Zealand. Serevi then resigned as coach only to leave the hard work and the structure he had created for sevens in Fiji behind.
Fiji failed to win a single tournament in the series last year. He said it was hard for him to see all his work out the window.
“The worst part was last year when I saw all my hard work from 2005 went down the drain in an instance. I think we lost track of the players whom we had groomed for a while. We had a group of players and some reserves to replace when one could not make it. Last year we lost all of them,” Serevi said.
With a plan in mind the maestro put the past behind him and took up the job to help Fiji regain its status. Despite a shortfall in the first two legs of the 2008-09 season, Serevi said a lot more history for him and the team remains yet to be written.
“A lot of things are yet to be achieved for me and the team. We are still in the race for the IRB series title and the World Cup 7s tournament. We have to focus and work even harder,” Serevi said.
He plans to end his playing international rugby career in Dubai this year at the 2009 WC 7s.

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