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PROFILE: Isei Colati

The Vodafone Flying Fijians prop forward Isei Colati is confident that the team will deliver on game day. Nowadays, props like him also have to be able to catch, time
12 Aug 2015 11:12
PROFILE: Isei Colati
Isei Colati and Metuisela Talebula

The Vodafone Flying Fijians prop forward Isei Colati is confident that the team will deliver on game day. Nowadays, props like him also have to be able to catch, time a pass to put team-mates into space and run.

Preparation for the Rugby World Cup is well underway and Colati who loves to put his head where it hurts believes he needs to step up his game to compete against Australia, England and Wales.

“I still need to work on my fitness and scrummaging,” he said.

With origins from Lomaloma in Vanuabalavu, Colati left his village to further his education at Gospel High School in Suva.

The dream of being a rugby player started in the village when as a young boy he watched his village team prepare for the Island zone competition. It became a reality when he represented Gospel in the U18 grade playing as a flanker.

A year later he moved to prop positon.  Interestingly, when he started playing club competitions (Natuicake) he fell back to the centre position. When asked, he said, “I guess I was trying to experience all positions to determine where I am most comfortable.”

From Natuicake he joined the Marist Rugby Club. There he moved back to flanker. It’s only when he was with the Rara Club in Naitasiri that he decided to remain as a prop.

“I am grateful to Alifereti Mocelutu and Epeli Naituivau, who contributed a lot in developing my skills as a prop.

“It was these guys who saw the potential I had and motivated me that year until I was selected in the Naitasiri Provincial side.”

He said, Mocelutu and Naituivau taught him the basic skills required from a prop.

His career continued to escalate when he was chosen to join the Tailevu Knights, and then later represented the Fiji Barbarians in the Pacific Rugby Cup competition. It took him awhile before he earned his test debut but he said it was all worth the wait.

“A prop will always be a prop but it’s a position that specifically needs someone who is passionate about the role.”

Now playing professionally in France, and married with two kids, Colati said he hasn’t been back to his village since the year 2000 when he left for Suva.

“I am trying my best to visit the islands but right now I want to focus on making it into the Vodafone Flying Fijians team to the Rugby World Cup in England.

“Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle and is what all rugby players want but it will be the biggest challenge of your rugby career.”

For upcoming players who dream about donning the Fiji jersey, he said, it is all about sacrifices, commitments and putting into practice what you learned from your coaches.

“In France, the main focus is on grass roots and we also need it here in Fiji. Children at an early age must be taught the right skills when in school, so when they grow up they will be clear about the positions they want to play in as well the proper and safer way to play the sport.

He also highlighted the need to educate teachers the proper coaching skills.

Colati is a big fan of Carl Haymen, one of the best tight head prop in the world. Haymen in his front row philosophy said, a tight head prop is the anchor of the scrum and is the player who take the most amount of force through their bodies.

“It is more technically and physically demanding than loose head due to extra pressure. With a good tight head the team has the ability to win clean ball at the scrum, promote the right hand side, creating a positional advantage and to win penalties at the scrum,” Haymen also said.

Colati said their scrums during the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup has improved and the team are working extra hard to bring them up to the level that is required of them at this stage of the game.

“I would say, England would be our toughest opponent after watching at the Six Nations Championships,” Colati said. “Both forward and backline are pretty good.”

However from the Pacific Nation Cup, he said, the brotherhood and team values that he experienced is a positive sign that there is togetherness and unity as we count down to RWC 2015 next month.

 

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