Skipper ‘Dom’ Commands Respect Of Players And Officials

His leadership style augured well for the players and officials.
19 Aug 2019 12:56
Skipper ‘Dom’ Commands Respect Of Players And Officials
Fiji Airways Flying Fijian flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu during training at Albert Park in Suva on June 19, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar


Dominiko Waqaniburotu is a man of a few words but commands the respect of his teammates and officials because he always leads by example.

The tough loosie has been handed the responsibility to captain the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan next month.

During the official announcement of the team at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva last Friday, the 33-year-old said he was honoured by the appointment but however, indicated that they are yet to reach their potential.

“This is a special group,” he said.

“We are not perfect yet and we’ve still got a lot of things to work on. We still have four to five weeks to go and hopefully, we can get there.”

As a true leader, Waqaniburotu took time at the press conference to thank the players who had missed out on selection for the sacrifice they have made for the team.

“It wasn’t easy letting go of those that weren’t selected. I wanted to thank them and their families for their sacrifice and time for being with the team for the past few weeks,” he said.

Waqaniburotu took over from Akapusi Qera as the Flying Fijians captain during the Europe Tour in November last year.

His leadership style augured well for the players and officials.

One of the players who made the final cut to the World Cup told this newspaper that Waqaniburotu always demands the best out of them whether they are on or off the field.

After leading the Flying Fijians to a 21-14 win over France at the Stade de France in Paris, head coach John McKee knew that Waqaniburotu was going to be his World Cup captain.

The no-nonsense coach spoke highly of Waqaniburotu when he announced his appointment as captain for the Maori All Blacks matches and Pacific Nations Cup.

“I really look forward to working with Dominiko as captain. I know we have a very strong leadership group in this team who will be driving a lot of team values and behaviours while in camp and at the Rugby World Cup,” McKee said.

Waqaniburotu played for Waikato in New Zealand’s ITM Cup in 2009. He made his Test debut against Australia in 2010 and during the PNC (that year) he took over as captain after Deacon Manu left to play for his club.

He played at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

Waqanibutoru plays for Brive in the French Top 14 competition.

At the World Cup, he has a pool of senior players like Leone Nakarawa, Vereniki Goneva, Ben Volavola, Campese Ma’afu, Levani Botia, Tevita Cavubati, Api Ratuniyarawa, Peceli Yato and Josh Matavesi to assist him.

He’s our best for the job and we wish him well at the World Cup.

Just a glance

The Flying Fijians captains at the Rugby World Cups.

1987: Koli Rakoroi (Lock)

1991: Mosese Taga (Prop)

1995: Failed to qualify

1999: Greg Smith (Hooker):

2003: Ro Alifereti Doviverata (Flanker)

2007: Mosese Rauluni (Halfback)

2011: Deacon Manu (Prop)

2015: Akapusi Qera (Flanker)

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