SPORTS

Former Star Centre, Savenaca Aria, Dies

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, former national 7s forward Sailosi Nawavu described Aria as a no-nonsense player and his power-play made him known to all players that crossed his path.
17 Mar 2020 12:59
Former Star Centre, Savenaca Aria, Dies
Former Nadi and national rugby centre Savenaca Aria (right) passed away at his residence at Nawaka Village in Nadi on Sunday.

 

The country’s rugby fraternity is mourning the death of former national rugby star centre and national sevens rover Savenaca Aria. The strong running back passed away at his residence at Nawaka Village, Nadi on Sunday.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, former national 7s forward Sailosi Nawavu described Aria as a no-nonsense player and his power-play made him known to all players that crossed his path.

He said Aria was among the rugby greats like Manasa Qoro, Esala Labalaba, Senivalati Laulau, Solo Rasolea (Snr), Sakaraia Nacaka, Semisi Naevo and Api Naevo who hail from Nawaka Village.

Aria played at the 1987 Hong Kong 7s alongside Tomasi Cama (Snr), Maika Toga, Apisai Sesewa, Qoro, Meli Rabonu and Labalaba.

“Aria helped me along with others to don the Fijian 7s jumper. He would push me through the limits and that’s how I made it to the Fiji team.”

Nawavu said he was fortunate to have played with Aria from 1995-96.

“We played together for Nadi in the then Sun 7s tournament (a national provincial 7s competition).

“They always name the squad to Hong Kong at the end of that tournament.”

Aria earned his first Test cap for Fiji against Wales in Suva on May 31, 1986. Despite not being part of the 1987 Rugby World Cup roster, four years later, he played at the 1991 RWC in England.

After he retired Aria coached Nadi in 2001 and, a year later, in 2002, he became the assistant national 7s coach where he worked with head coach Laulau.

He also coached Police to win the Ratu Sukuna Bowl from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

Before his passing away Aria was the president of the Blue Football Club which compete at the Nadi FA Local League competition.

He was 55 during the time of his death and is survived by his wife, Sera, five children and four grandchildren.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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