Analysis | SPORTS

Frank Lomani, The Future Of Fiji Rugby

Lomani drew applause when he delayed celebrations after the 48-16 win over Samoa A on Saturday to remember the victims of the deadly Christchurch terror attacks.
18 Mar 2019 15:46
Frank Lomani, The Future Of Fiji Rugby
Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors captain Frank Lomani receives the World Rugby Pacific Challnege trophy from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on March 16, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Analysis: 

There is little doubt that Frank Lomani is one of Fiji’s most talented rugby players.

But few were aware of the 22-year-old’s leadership qualities before he led the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors to a fourth successive World Rugby Pacific Challenge title on Saturday.

In Lomani, Fiji possesses a player with the hallmarks to one day captain the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians side.

Many in the Warriors squad describe him as one of the key motivational figures behind the success of the team.

The Nukubalavu, Savusavu native was drafted into the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby franchise team in 2018, where he was understudy to Australian halfback Will Genia.

While Lomani may not have been an established starter with the Rebels, the experience helped him become a disciplined and focussed professional.

Those qualities have allowed the halfback to lead from the front and instil confidence in the players around him.

Warriors’ first five eighth, Caleb Muntz, describes Lomani as an “inspirational” figure who takes it upon himself to guide the rest of the team.

“The way Frank carries himself and the way he just wants to achieve so much has been inspiring,” Muntz said.

Lomani drew applause when he delayed celebrations after the 48-16 win over Samoa A on Saturday to remember the victims of the deadly Christchurch terror attacks.

He said: “We want to let them (victims and their families) know we stand with them.”

Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors captain and halfback Frank Lomani after his try against Samoa A at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on March 16, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors captain and halfback Frank Lomani after his try against Samoa A at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on March 16, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

An articulate communicator, Lomani’s commitment and passion for the sport sets him apart from the rest.

He was recognised at Fiji Rugby Union’s awards night last month as the country’ best  domestic player in 2018.

He exudes confidence on the field and is known for his intelligent decision-making.

The halfback can also read the game well and remains calm in high-pressure situations, two qualities that stood out with the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua side last year.

Lomani sometimes risks suspension with his fiery reactions to on-field incidents.

But the young player has time on his side to develop and improve that side of his game.

He made his test debut for Fiji in a World Cup qualifier win (16-38) over Samoa in Apia in 2017 and has played seven more times since.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians coach John McKee has described Lomani as an “exciting” player who has “seen rapid development.”

Lomani will be hoping to make the squad to July’s Pacific Nations Cup, before Fiji’s attention turns to the New Zealand Maori test and the World Cup.

His name should be one of the first on McKee’s final team list to Japan, barring any injury or big drop in form.

The Fijians play Australia, Uruguay, Georgia and Wales in Pool D of the competition.

There are still areas that McKee would like to improve on before the World Cup.

But if they do go far in Japan, you can be sure Lomani will have an important role to play.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedbacksheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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