Rugby League

Olympian Joins Fijian Bulikula

For 21-year-old, Vuna villager in Taveuni, Jiowana Sauto said the gamble she made to switch to rugby league has paid off as she will play in next Friday's Prime Minister’s XIII clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.
06 Oct 2019 14:47
Olympian Joins Fijian Bulikula
Jiowana Sauto.

Trying something new isn’t bad for a person who switched from rugby union to rugby league and is now in the Fijian Bulikula side.

For 21-year-old, Vuna villager in Taveuni, Jiowana Sauto said the gamble she made to switch to rugby league has paid off as she will play in next Friday’s Prime Minister’s XIII clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

The Fijian Bulikula’s Prime Minister’s XIII will take on the Australian Jillaroos Prime Minister’s XIII.

Growing up on the island, Sauto attended Wainikeli District School where netball was the only sport they play.

“I took it up and like many young girls in the country, my dream was to represent Fiji,” she said.

From those humble beginnings, she went on to represent the country in rugby union and made it to the Fijiana 7s side that played in the World Sevens Series and later the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Things began to change for Sauto early this year when she was invited to attend a rugby league trial with the Auckland Warriors in New Zealand.

“The Warriors women’s rugby league head coach Luisa Avaiki’s husband approached me to try out the sport. I had attended a 15s trial in Suva and I got a shock when he approached me and asked me to try out rugby league as there was a Warriors trial coming up. He helped me with some basics of rugby league.

“It never crossed my mind I would be part of the Fiji Bulikula team. I’m grateful to be in this environment with my Bulikula family and it is such a different feeling altogether.

“Growing up, I used to play netball, it never crossed my mind that one day I will play rugby or rugby league.”

The Sports Science student at the Fiji National University believes that rugby league brings a lot of physicality.

“I chose rugby league. Personally I would say when involved I came to realise my potential on the field.

“I fell in love with the sport after playing club games in New Zealand. Plus I just love the physicality of the game.

“This year, my goal was to try something different. Seeing my team-mate (Timaima Ravisa) switch from union to league gave me the idea to try out the trials in New Zealand or with any NRL club.”

Edited by  Leone  Cabenatabua

Feedbacksimione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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