Analysis | SPORTS

Let’s Not Forget Akapusi Qera

The 35-year-old veteran had missed out on last November’s tour to Europe since he was negotiating with a club after his contract with Top 14 French club Agen had expired.
12 Jun 2019 16:04
Let’s Not Forget Akapusi Qera
Akapusi Qera

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad for the Maori All Blacks matches and the Pacific Nations Cup in July have been named.

One name that is missing from the list is former captain and openside flanker Akapusi Qera.

The 35-year-old veteran had missed out on last November’s tour to Europe since he was negotiating with a club after his contract with Top 14 French club Agen had expired.

He signed up with second tier English club Hartpury RFC and made his debut at the Greene King IPA Championship before last Christmas.

Qera was brought to the club by head coach Mark Cornwell, who first plucked him from the Fijian Under-20s to then second-tier Pertemps Bees back in 2005.

But playing in the English second tier is not a barrier to getting into international reckoning, as Cornish Pirates hooker Sam Matavesi, London Irish prop Manasa Saulo and Doncaster’s Henry Seniloli are also in the Flying Fijians squad.

But for the God fearing Qera, he has made his intentions known that he wants to play in his fourth Rugby World Cup in September.

“I’d love to go to Japan with the Flying Fijians,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I believe I can be there. With this opportunity at Hartpury I have to control what I can, play well and keep fit.”

He was one of the key players in the Ilivasi Tabua- coached Flying Fijians side at the 2007 RWC in Wales where he scored three tries and one was against Wales in their famous 38-34 win.

After Fiji’s poor performance at the 2011 RWC in New Zealand, Qera took over as captain from Deacon Manu and had been the mainstay of the Flying Fijians campaign to the 2015 RWC in England. He continued on right to last year.

While some players may have backed off during the Oceania RWC qualifiers, Qera stood firm and led from the front.

In their away games, he led the Flying Fijians in their hard fought 14-10 win over a star studded Tongan side at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa and a week later they beat Samoa 38-16 at Apia Park to top the Oceania region

Apart from that, Qera also led the Flying Fijians to wins over Tier One teams Italy and Scotland at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, in 2017.

Here, we’re looking at a player who had given his all for his country and certainly deserves better.

Qera needs to be given a chance to prove himself by showing that he still has what it takes to do Fiji proud. Putting him to play against the Maori All Blacks or at the PNC are the best grounds to test him out.

However, the onus will be on him to perform and if he does not then we can wish him well on his future endeavor.

But as of now, we cannot totally ignore him. Qera deserves a second chance and we should give it to him.

Edited by Grace Narayan

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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