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Life Award For Rugby Legends

Tikoisuva and Tuisese were given special recognition at FRU’s annual general meeting at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay, attended by Prime Minister and FRU president Voreqe Bainimarama.
28 Apr 2019 13:48
Life Award For Rugby Legends
Rugby legends Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese (left) and Pio Bosco Tikoisuva at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay on April 27, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Rugby legends Pio Bosco Tikoisuva and Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese were yesterday made life members of the Fiji Rugby Union as a way to recognise their immense contribution to the sport.

The two have been part of rugby at national and international level since the late 1960s and are today considered icons of the sport.

Tikoisuva and Tuisese were given special recognition at FRU’s annual general meeting at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay, attended by Prime Minister and FRU president Voreqe Bainimarama.

Tuisese, captain of the first Fijian team to lift the Hong Kong 7s trophy in 1977 and a FRU Hall of Famer, said he was proud to receive the recognition.

“Receiving this award feels like my life has come full circle,” he said.

“I have shared my life with rugby and committed myself to many areas of the game.”

Fellow life member Tikoisuva said he was positively surprised by the award and thanked FRU for appreciating the contribution made by former players in the development of rugby.

“I did not know the life membership award existed until I received a text message from the chairman of the board (Francis Kean) a few days ago,” the former FRU chief executive officer said.

“We played rugby for the pure love of the game and our country. We were crazy for the sport, even though we didn’t have money or anything. And that is why it feels good to be appreciated.”

Rugby legends Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese (left) and Pio Bosco Tikoisuva at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay on April 27, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Rugby legends Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese (left) and Pio Bosco Tikoisuva at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay on April 27, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

 

TUISESE’S CAREER

Tuisese was among the pioneers of 7s rugby in Fiji, leading the team as coach, captain and manager to the 1976 Hong Kong 7s before lifting the trophy a year later.

His debut in 15s came in an 11- 31 loss against Wales on June 25, 1969.

He was also lock forward in the Fijian team that defeated the British and Irish Lions 25-21 in front of a raucous 20,000 crowd at Suva’s Buckhurst Park, now the ANZ Stadium, in 1977.

That team, incidentally, was captained by Tikoisuva who put in a distinguished performance at first -five eighth in the famous victory.

Tuisese took up coaching and administrative roles at the Naitasiri Rugby Union, and later the FRU, after calling time on his decorated playing career.

TIKOISUVA’S CAREER

Tikoisuva began his rugby 15s career against Tonga in 1968 when he was 21-years-old.

He was the manager of the Fijian 7s team that successfully defended the 1978 Hong Kong 7s before retiring from international rugby a year later.

His exploits on the rugby field attracted the interest of the Harlequins Rugby Club, a top English team, who signed Tikoisuva as the first player of colour in the team.

He was appointed FRU’s first professional CEO in 2001, a position he served in until 2005.

In 2007, Tikoisuva was the manager of the Flying Fijians team which defeated Wales 38 -34 in pool play of the Rugby World Cup in France before going down to 20-37 in the Cup quarter-final against South Africa.

He was also a career civil servant and served as Fiji’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2008-2011.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun. com.fj

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