‘Nela’ Inspired By Big Brother

Being named in the Vodafone Flying Fijians squad for the 2014 Europe Tour next month is a huge honour for Wellington Lions prop Taniela Koroi. Fondly known as ‘Nela’ by
06 Oct 2014 10:32
‘Nela’ Inspired By Big  Brother
People walk inside the Steve Jobs Theater where a special event of Apple is held in Cupertino, California, the United States on Sept. 12, 2017. (Xinhua)

Being named in the Vodafone Flying Fijians squad for the 2014 Europe Tour next month is a huge honour for Wellington Lions prop Taniela Koroi.

Fondly known as ‘Nela’ by family and friends, the Nasau, Nabukelevu, Kadavu man has spent most of his life on the field and credited two men who have been a constant presence in his life- his father Isimeli Koroi and his big brother, New Zealand All Blacks 7s flyer Lote Raikabula.

“My dad always pushed me to become a rugged rugby player and growing up he always trained me hard as a kid. But a person I always looked up to is my older brother Lote Raikabula.

“He always pushed me to keep training hard and always set my goals high. I know he would be shocked that I’ve taken the calling to my homeland because he thought I would aim for the black jersey. But in my heart I knew I always wanted to play for Fiji.”

The 23-year-old former Tawa College student recalled first picking up a rugby ball as a six-year-old in Toorak, Suva.

Taniela and Lote first started honing their skills that would take one to Wellington Hurricanes development team last year and the other to global success as an All Black 7s star.

“I moved to NZ at the age of six but I always remember where I first played with a rugby ball which was when we lived in Toorak and playing outside the QVS clubhouse with my older brother,”

“I first started playing rugby at the age of eight for my local club Tawa in Wellington. I came up through the grades from Wellington U12 all the way to Under-21 and playing Hurricanes U16 in 2006 and Hurricanes Development last year.

“My dad basically made me play rugby because he came to New Zealand for rugby in the late 1980s. His mission was to make me give something back to Fiji and being selected for Fiji has made him proud.

“The best advice I’ve ever received is from my parents is to take every opportunity you get with your talent; always be humble and never forget our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Elated by the news of his selection for the Northern tour, Koroi was initially waiting on Hurricanes duty next Super Rugby season and knows he’ll have to work hard for game time.

“I’d like to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity.

“I’m very pleased that Fiji identified me to join the Europe Tour team.

“It’s been a bit of a shock to me getting picked this early to represent my country.

“I was waiting on the naming of Hurricanes Super Rugby squad for 2015 but heard the news that I got selected for Fiji; I thank God though for answering my prayers.

“If I got picked for the RWC next year, it would be my ultimate dream come true. But I know I have to perform on tour.

“I’m hoping to add some more power upfront.

“I really hope to gain some experience and more form for rugby on this tour. The ITM Cup has given me lots confidence to scrum and to run more with the ball in hand”

Nela won’t be the first Koroi to don the national jumper as younger brother Joketani featured for the national Under-20 side in the Junior World Cup in 2012.

“But this is a huge step up for the family with me being selected in the Flying Fijians squad.

“I can’t wait to fly the flag for my homeland.”



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