ENTERTAINMENT

Karl Te Nana – Fiji’s Son In Law

H e is one of Fiji’s greatest nemesis in the game of 7s rugby. Whenever the big giants of 7s meet, Karl Te Nana always stood firm and was always
04 Jan 2015 10:25
Karl Te Nana – Fiji’s Son In Law

H

e is one of Fiji’s greatest nemesis in the game of 7s rugby. Whenever the big giants of 7s meet, Karl Te Nana always stood firm and was always a thorn in the side for opposing teams, especially Fiji.

Born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, on July 15, 1975, Karl Te Nana grew up in a small community. As a child, he was always a bubbly kid running around the field. Te Nana took up rugby in high school and one day he caught the eyes of rugby selectors.

He was called into the extended New Zealand squad coached by the great Sir Gordon Tietjens and made to work hard to attain a place in the New Zealand 7s team. He played on the wing and usually beat his opponents in one-on-one situations. Standing at 6 ft 4 inch Te Nana was always unstoppable and easily managed to score tries. He stands as one of the 10 highest try scorers of all time in 7s rugby having scored 113 tries for New Zealand.

Te Nana was known as a formidable force in the 7s game and was always on agents’ watchful eyes who were trying to pull him into provincial rugby. He luckily got his break and started playing for North Harbour and then moving up a rank into the Highlanders team.

Being in coach Tietjens’ dream team list, Te Nana was again called up for 7s duties, but this time it was for the Commonwealth Games. He teamed up with Eric Rush, Amasio Raoma Valence, Mils Muliaina and they helped NZ won the gold medal beating Fiji in an epic final.

Te Nana also mentioned fearing a player from the Fiji team and that was none other than our own Vilimone Delasau. He recalls him to be fleet-footed and always had a great goose step to go with his pace.

“Marking a man of that talent and calibre is just impossible,” Te Nana said.

He also believes that Waisale Serevi was and still is one of the greatest 7s players of all time.

I recently had a chance to interview the former New Zealand 7s captain and he told me he actually visits Fiji on a regular basis as his wife comes from Tailevu. This may come as a surprise to many of us. He said even though he was once Fiji’s greatest rival, he was always greeted with friendly smiles where ever he goes.

I also asked him about our boys’ most recent performances since coach Ben Ryan took charge of the reigns of the 7s national side. He was very encouraging, as he believes that players are more focused on the game and their fitness levels are getting better as time goes by

Te Nana said Fiji previously lacked in mental strength, but now he has seen well structured play by the Fiji team. They have players who can attack from anywhere on the field and almost all of them have the pace to back it up.

He was also very impressed by Vodafone Fiji 7s team captain, Osea Kolinisau. He noted that Kolinisau came back after a short break from the 7s series and now he is one player who worked hard to get himself where he is today.

Te Nana is now retired from rugby, but that doesn’t stop him from running onto the field to enjoy a game with his friends. He now hosts a weekly rugby show on Sky TV New Zealand called “This Given Sunday” with former All Backs halfback Steve Devine. Te Nana is also a part of the commentary team at the World Sevens Series.

The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback: ajayamrit@hotmail.com

 

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