SPORTS

Our Top Two: Radradra And Nagasau

Our choice for Sportsman of the Year is Fiji Airways Flying Fijians centre/wing Semi Radradra and Fiji Airways Fijiana 7, 15s rep Rusi­la Nagasau as our Sportswoman.
01 Jan 2020 14:45
Our Top Two: Radradra And Nagasau
Rusila Nagasau and Semi Radradra.

Next month we will honour the achievements of our sportspeople last year in the annual Fiji Sports Awards.

We had high expectations of our sportspeople being the year of the Pacific Games in Samoa, World Sevens Series (men and women), Rugby World Cup and the Oceania 7s which was an Olympic qualifier and 2021 Rugby Women World Cup Oceania qualifier the main events.

Apart from the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team winning the 2018-19 World Sevens Series and Seremaia Tu­wai winning World 7s Player of the Year, our other national teams fell far short.

But some players made a mark for the world to see and a promising 2020 to look forward to.

Our choice for Sportsman of the Year is Fiji Airways Flying Fijians centre/wing Semi Radradra and Fiji Airways Fijiana 7, 15s rep Rusi­la Nagasau as our Sportswoman.

And here is why.

Semi Rocking Rugby World

There is no one who rocks the world of rugby better in 2019 than Radradra.

Even with loads of Fiji Airways Flying Fijians talent around him, the 27-year-old still excels.

The Somosomo, Taveuni native was a different breed from the rest almost scoring a perfect 10 in test matches against in the Pacific Na­tions Cup, two tests against the New Zealand Maori and Tonga.

But it was the RWC in Japan where he strut his staff for the world to see.

Even some rugby commentators were tempted prior to the Cup quar­terfinals to name him player of the tournament for his powerful perfor­mance in the four pool games.

He put on a show that he was named man of the match twice against Georgia and Wales.

England coach Eddie Jones was impressed with performance against Wales

“What a player that Semi Radradra is,” said Jones after the winger’s Player of the Match per­formance against Wales. “Just to be at the World Cup is a humbling ex­perience to see him play with such, power, pace and guile. It was one of the best displays I have seen – and I am talking as a fan. If you were building the perfect rugby player, Radradra would be a pretty good blueprint.”

Radradra averaged 100m a game at the 2019 RWC, lighting up the com­petition pool stages with a string of sensational displays, including a brace against Georgia.

Radradra is the first player ever from a non-Tier 1 nation to be di­rectly involved in five tries in a sin­gle RWC game (2 tries, 3 try assists).

Planet Rugby rated himself as one of the most devastating runners in the game and deservedly received plenty of recognition as a result.

He is arguably the only player in the world who plays well regardless of the team around him.

Bristol Bears rugby director Pat Lam has hailed the English club’s acquisition of Radradra for 2020 said; “There is no doubt that Semi is truly a world class performer. He is world class because of the relent­less work and preparation he puts into his game, day in day out.

“He’s an unstoppable force and we are looking forward to seeing him light up the competition.”

Nagasau a battler

Champions are defined not by their wins, but how well they can recover when they fall.

The notable quote by tennis great Serena Williams is how we can de­fine our Sportswoman of the Year Rusila Nagasau.

The 32-year-old is an important player and a battler for the Fiji Air­ways Fijiana 7s and Fiji Airways Fijiana XV teams.

It was a special 2019 for her when he took part in both.

First she helped the Fijiana 7s qualify for the Tokyo Olympics dur­ing the Oceania 7s at the ANZ Sta­dium in Suva.

And last month she was part of the Fiji Airways Fijian XV team that qualified for the 2021 Women’s Rug­by World Cup after beating Samoa in the final round of the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2019 in Lautoka

A day later she jetted off with La­venia Tinai to join the team for the Dubai 7s and helped her side play in the Cup quarterfinal for the first time in two seasons after thrashing Ireland 28-12 in the final pool match.

“It has always been my dream to wear the white jumper for 15s,” Na­gasau told World Rugby.

“Qualifying the team was the aim since we missed out in 2016. They had been preparing for that for two months and for us to join them and qualify for a RWC for the first time was our biggest achievement.

“I took part in the Rio Olympics, the Rugby World Cup Sevens, Com­monwealth Games and other tour­naments, but qualifying for 2021 RWC, that is the biggest achieve­ment of our lives.

“Playing in the 15s World Cup, it is something we can really look for­ward to.

“Our coach told us he wanted us to be the first Fiji women to qualify and make history and he was push­ing us to be the best version of us that went out there. We emptied the tank and after 80 minutes we had nothing left but it was the best mo­ment because we made it happen.

As for qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, she said: “For us right now everybody is happy. We came here with one aim and that is to qualify for the Olympics and we achieved that and we are looking forward to lift our game and do Fiji proud.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: karalaini.tavi@fijisun.com.fj

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