SPORTS

For Uncle Leo

“They were preparing to leave for Los Angeles last Friday night when news broke out that his uncle had collapsed during the Nawaka Sevens tournament,” she said.
29 Feb 2020 12:09
For Uncle Leo
Fiji's Asaeli Tuivuaka.

Powerhouse Fiji Airways Fijian 7s utility Asaeli Tuivuaka will be playing for his late uncle Leo Naikasau (Snr) in tomorrow’s Los Angeles Sevens at Dignity Health and Sports Park, USA.

Speaking to SUNsports, Tuivuaka’s mum Vitorina Lebakaumata said it was hard for her son to accept that his uncle had passed away.

“They were preparing to leave for Los Angeles last Friday night when news broke out that his uncle had collapsed during the Nawaka Sevens tournament,” she said.

Naikasau, who was buried in Nasasa, Navua, yesterday was the manager of the Tabadamu Rugby Club. He helped groom rising stars like Tuivuaka, Apenisa Cakaubalavu and Terio Tamani.

Lebakaumata said it took her son time before deciding to travel with the national 7s team since this is what his uncle would have wanted.

Grieving mum Vitorina Lebakaumata.

Grieving mum Vitorina Lebakaumata.

“Naikasau (Snr) was the man who pushed Tuivuaka to where he is today,” an emotional Lebakaumata said.

“My son called on Thursday night from Los Angeles and talked about how he missed his uncle and promised to play to his best this weekend to honour him.

“He then made a request if we could take a video of his uncle’s coffin so he could take one last look at his face and say his goodbye.”

Lebakaumata said her brothers, the late Naikasau (Snr) and former national rugby 7s captain Setefano Cakau had been supporting them after her husband died.

“Since my husband’s death in 2010, my family including Setefano Cakau and (late) Naikasau Snr have been supporting and pushing Tuivuaka to where he is today.

“I told my son that he needs to think of all the good upbringing his uncles have left with him.”

Lebakaumata said it has been a tough year for her son, who lost one of his uncles while playing in the January New Zealand 7s in Hamilton and now it’s Naikasau (Snr).

“I told him not to lose hope. His uncles have carried out their duties diligently and it’s time for him to continue with his rugby career because his future depends on it.”

FIJI GAMES TOMORROW AT LA 7S

  • 6:51am Fiji v South Korea
  • 9:47am Fiji v France
  • 1:05pm Fiji v Argentina

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: lusiana.tuimaisala@fijisun.com.fj


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