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Waimanu Rugby, Going Strong After 88 Years

In some countries sevens rugby is a sport. But in Fiji it is a way of life. This rings true for one of the oldest rugby clubs in Fiji, the
04 Feb 2018 11:00
Waimanu Rugby, Going Strong After 88 Years
Former Flying Fijians coach Samu Domoni looks on prior to kickoff of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between Fiji and Namibia at Rotorua International Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Rotorua, New Zealand Photo: Zimbio

In some countries sevens rugby is a sport. But in Fiji it is a way of life.

This rings true for one of the oldest rugby clubs in Fiji, the 88-year-old Waimanu Rugby Club, a vanua based club in the tikina (district) of Vuna, Sawani, Naitasiri.

It was formed in the early 1880s before rugby was introduced in Fiji in 1884.

The club was known as the Waimanu Football Club.

They represented Naitasiri in Levuka in 1924 during the first ever inter-provincial football competition.

Captained by the late Meli Vunakece, Waimanu FC won the inter-provincial competition beating Lomaiviti in the final.

“The medal was presented to Vunakece by a representative from Brotherton Brothers and Company from Manchester, England,” Waimanu Rugby official Sailosi Naiteqe Snr said.

“After the inter-provincial football tournament in Levuka, our forefathers switched to rugby and joined the Suva Rugby Union in 1930. The name of the club was then changed to Waimanu Rugby Club.”

In 1939, the Waimanu Rugby Club won the best dressed, points and knockout competition prize in Suva Rugby.

“This team was coached by the late Sakeasi Sovanivalu, from Cautata, Bau, Tailevu, who was teaching at the Provincial School Southern (PSS) at the time.

It was an all-male school which was now known as Adi Cakobau School (ACS).

The club then moved and registered under the Rewa Rugby Union which was formed in the 1970s, now the Tailevu Rugby Union.

The club won the Vanua Shield in 1997 before  they moved and played in the newly formed Naitasiri Rugby Union in 1998.

“The club contributed 12 players which defeated Nadroga team in the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy challenge,” Naiteqe Snr said.

 

National Reps

Naiteqe Snr said the Waimanu Rugby Club produced players that represented Fiji in both the 15s and 7s.

“We have some notable national reps which include Suliasi Dolesau, Josua Balemila, Kaiva Bosenavulagi, Sakeasi Sovanivalu, Jone Kubu, Samuela Domoni Jnr, Sailosi Naiteqe Jnr, Asaeli Naiteqe and Fiji Airways Drua rep Filimoni Seru,”he said.

They also have produced national 7 reps like Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki Jnr, Sailosi Naiteqe Jnr, Adriu Rinakama, Meli Nayacalevu, Nasoni Rokobiau, Lemeki Duidomo, Ilaisa Bose, Livai Ikanikoda, Waisale Dau, Esava Tiko, Joe Tiko, Mosese Luveitasau, Neori Buli.

“We had some great team officials that carried the flag of the Waimanu Rugby Club in Fiji and abroad.”

This includes manager (1998 – 2004) Rajesh Singh, who became the Minister of Sports in the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) Government.

Listed below are some of their officials who have impacted Fiji Rugby on a national and international scale.

  1. Samu Domoni Jnr – Head Coach Flying Fijians 2009 -2011

2.Peni Muakalou – One of the top referees in Fiji from 1980 – 2002.

  1. Sailosi Naiteqe Snr – Coach Premier Club in Poland 2003 – 2005, Selector Fiji 7s team 2013 – 2014, founder/head coach/ chairman of the Samurai Fiji Barracudas Rugby Club.

The Waimanu Rugby Club also have a 7s tournament, the Congo Waimanu Rugby Club 7s which was played in Nausori last month.

2018 officials: Patron-Ro Vilitati Macanawai Raicebe; President Suliasi Dolesau; vice-president Ratu Solomone Raicebe; chairman Ratu Alipate Raicebe; manager Sitiveni Cagi; treasurer Napolioni Kobiti; secretary Ratu Sikeli Boladuadua; head coach Ratu Asaeli Naiteqe.

 

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  peni.komaisavai@fijisun.com.fj

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