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‘Local Boy’Among Rugby Legends In London

I always wanted to play with the I  I Ii I always wanted to play with the legends of the game-Frank Lomani Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani will
01 Dec 2018 10:00
‘Local Boy’Among Rugby Legends In London
Frank Lomani to play for the Barbarians. Photo: Barbarians Rugby

I always wanted to play with the I  I Ii I always wanted to play with the legends of the game-Frank Lomani

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani will start from the bench for the Barbarians against Argentina XV at Twickenham Stadium, in London tomorrow (Fiji time) .

It’s another breakthrough for Nukubalavu, Savusavu native who has had a tremendous year contributing to Naitasiri winning the HFC Farebrother Trophy, Fiji Airways Fijian Drua winning the Australian National Rugby Championship, Fiji Airways Flying Fijians winning the Pacific Nations Cup and the historic 21-16 victory against  France over the weekend.

Top rugby clubs in Europe are after him but Lomani wants timeout with his family in the festive season as he has been away for two months and not taking a rest for nearly two years.

One of world’s emerging halfback,Lomani shares his progress, win over France and timeout with the Barbarians tomorrow.

 

When did you find out about being selected into the Barbarians team?

Before our game against Uruguay in Gloucester, Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee told me that Rassie Erasmus ( Barbarians/Springboks coach) had emailed him to see if I was available because he wanted me to play.

 

On being selected in the Match Day 23

I couldn’t believe that of all of the halfbacks in the world, I don’t know why the South African coach chose me, I just can’t believe it.

To play in this team has always been a dream. What’s amazing, is that in Gloucester, the night before I found out, I was talking to my roommate (Semi Kunatani) and I told him it was my dream to play in this team where all the legends play.  I always wanted to play with the legends of the game.

Then the very next morning when John (McKee) called me in to tell me, it was like a dream came true, to happen on the very same day,  I couldn’t believe it.

I’m just a local boy without a professional contract, there are heaps of boys here that could’ve played and I am just happy to be here and have this experience.

But now to be included in the Match 23 is huge honour and I just can’t wait to be on the field and hit the ground running.

 

What is it like to be around some of those players

Like I said it’s a dream come true.  I look around and there are all of these great players, some of the brothers from the Melbourne Rebels and there is (captain) Wyatt Crockett who has played over 100 caps for the All Blacks and 200 caps in Super Rugby.

I just can’t believe it.

It’s amazing how quickly we have gelled together.

We got to the first training session and it was like we’ve all been playing together for 10 years.  Everyone is so friendly and the bonding has happened really quickly.

 

What is Rassie Erasmus the coach like?

He is a very humble, quiet guy who is really good at getting around the guys and sharing stories with them.

He has told us to enjoy this experience because we never know when in our lifetime it will happen again so make sure we enjoy every minute of being together.

 

Playing at Twickenham

It has always been a dream to play at Twickenham and now this weekend I will get to run out on to the field there and I know I’m going to take the moment and I just want to hit the ground running.

 

Tell us about the France game.

How about that match, it was so special.  We could tell how happy John (McKee) was after the match by how he went around to the whole team to shake their hands and embrace them.  It was a good day.

That week and on that game day there was a different feeling over the whole group.

Before the game in the warm up there’s this feeling that comes when you sense you’re going to play well, there was no anxious feeling or butterflies, just calm.

It was because of our preparation, our training was so accurate and we prepared really well.

Everything comes down to preparation and when you prepare well, those are the type of things you can achieve.

 

What are your plans for the future

Big clubs offering me opportunities, which is very humbling but I’ve said to my manager that I’m not quite ready yet.

After this Barbarians game I need to come home to my family and spend some time with them, to refresh and make the best decisions, I’ve been away for two months and haven’t taken a rest for nearly two years.

I know they would like me to stay until February, but for now, I want to come home to my family and spend some time with them first, even if it’s just a week or two.

 

LINE-UP

Barbarians: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Tom English, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Leon Fukofuka, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Wyatt Crockett (c)

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Anton Peikrishvili, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Elton Jantjies.

 

Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Juan Pablo Zeiss

Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Santiago Carreras.

 

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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