Fiji Sports

7s accwwording to Jim

By SITERI NAVUTOVUTO The most unforgettable moment for Timoci “Jim’ Wainiqolo in the history of his rugby career was when he scored the winning try for the Fiji sevens team
06 Oct 2012 10:35

Timoci Wainiqolo with his family in Suva. Sitting from left is Aporosa Wainiqolo, Mere Wainiqolo (wife), Ratu Peni Wainiqolo (grandson) and Reijeli Wainiqolo. Photo: JONA KONATACI


The most unforgettable moment for Timoci “Jim’ Wainiqolo in the history of his rugby career was when he scored the winning try for the Fiji sevens team against the All Blacks at the 1991 Hong Kong Sevens.
And 19 years later, the Lomanikoro, Bua native is now handling a different career as the Digicel Fiji 7s assistant coach.
His selection into the national coaching job hasn’t been easy for him as he tries his best to put together a good team with Digicel Fiji 7s head coach and victorious 1991 team captain Alifereti Dere.
From a player to grabbing the coaching position, Wainiqolo said is all about commitment and dedication but first of all relying in God.
In 1988, he had his first stint with the Flying Fijians in the 15s code until 1991 where he played in the 7s code and they won in the dying minutes with a try he scored.
He left in 1989 to play for the North Harbour in New Zealand before trying out sevens again in 1991.
Wainiqolo said the winning try in 1991 was an “automatic try”; he didn’t expect to score but when he had the ball on his hand, all he looked forward to was the tryline and the only thing that came to his mind was that they will have to beat the All Blacks in that final.
“ That’s the moment I will never forget,”Wainiqolo said.
From then to now, the games of 7s he admitted has changed a lot.
From the players, to the rule of the game and the technology that is available nowadays.
“During our playing days, we worked hard if we want to be part of the national team,” he said.
“It is never easy and we the players were very close to each other on and off the field.
“We were brothers and we share each and every moment we had together because we want to achieve the best not only on the playing field but in all areas of life.:
He said rugby players nowadays are lucky because they have access to modern technology which makes the workload a bit easier.
However, he said there were a few areas they would needed to work on if they need to achieve success.
“First of all a player needs to believe in himself.
“Secondly, for a win to be achieved there needs to be cooperation within team members.
“Thirdly, believing in God, sacrificing their time for national duties and working together as a team.
“This was what we did during 1991 when we played in Hong Kong and we believed this is what these current 7s team members can follow to achieve, not only win in one tournament, but in the whole IRB series.”
Alifereti Dere said the selection of Wainiqolo as his assistant is a great combination.
The Vatutu, Nadi man revealed they have been great mates since playing together in the early 1990s.
Dere said they shared the same pillows and blankets in camp as players and now that they have been appointed to the coaching position, they hope to apply the knowledge they have during their playing days to their coaching style.
He said they have the same ideas as to how the players have to perform in camp during the preparation period and how they will deliver on the field.
Wainiqolo said the selection criteria into the 7s squad nowadays is that any player who plays the 15s code can be eligible to play 7s.
And this is what the team management has been doing throughout this year in the Digicel Cup and Farebrother competitions.

Timoci Wainiqolo playing for North Harbour against Australia in 1990. Behind him is Buck Shelford and lying on the ground is Walter Little.

“We monitor players when they play for their respective provincial teams.
“This was how we managed to choose these players who are now part of the 7s squad.
“We believe that it is better that the players know both codes so that when they are selected into the national team, they can play better.”
Wainiqolo said another road to success in the rugby fraternity is for a player to be strong in the heart, mind and soul and the spiritual, mental and physical being should be strong enough.
“These I believe are the characters of a good sportsman.
“These are also the characters we have been stressing to these players to follow if they want to achieve the best in any rugby sevens tournament.
Wainiqolo departs for the Gold Coast Sevens in his first stint as national coach with the team on Tuesday. And all he needs is for Fiji fans to back him up at Skilled Park

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