Sowakula’s Rise To Fame

Former coach Isimeli Kurisalevu says his progress has been likened to a ‘silent killer’.
19 Jun 2020 14:58
Sowakula’s Rise To Fame
Peter Gus Sowakula

Chiefs’ loosie Pita Gus Sowakula’s progress in Super Rugby, has been closely monitored from home by a special fan.

Sowakula, who is now a regular starter for the Chiefs under coach, Warren Gatland, is also considered as a contender for the vacant All Blacks No.8 spot.

This special fan is none other than Tagaqe Eels rugby league coach Isimeli Kurisalevu, who helped mould Sowakula when he first started playing for them.

“I firmly believe that Gus will make the All Blacks,” Kurisalevu told SUNsports yesterday.

Kurisalevu identified Sowakula’s talent and allowed him to play rugby league for the Eels in 2014.

“Gus hard work speaks volume when he plays. He doesn’t talk a lot but he is a solid player,” he said.

Kurisalevu said it was funny because they tried so many ways for Sowakula speak out, but he always kept quiet.

“But despite that, Gus does what is required of him during a game and he does it really well.

“His rise to fame is likened to a Silent Killer because he doesn’t talk much and no one knew what was going on and suddenly he’s there in Super Rugby. He only speaks through what he does on and off the field.

“The type of rugby that Gus plays and his attitude has seen him reach the Super Rugby level which is a professional environment.

“Now, with a bit of game time he will be the next New Zealand Number Eight; so that jersey is waiting for Gus.”

Kurisalevu said Sowakula was a disciplined player when it came to training and he always top their fitness tests.

“He’s one hell of a player because he takes whatever is dished out to him during training or in a game.”

Sowakula played for the Eels from 2014 to 2015 and was selected to the Nadroga Knights squad that toured Brisbane, Australia.

On his return he was named in the Vodafone Fijian Residents squad.

“I’ve reminded him that whenever he comes for training he has to give his 100 per cent.

“I always tell him to refer it as his last training session. Strong words like ‘wear that jersey like it’s the last time you’re going to play because there is always someone coming up who is better than you and he might replace you’ were dished out to him.

“I believe these words have stuck with Gus until today.”

Kurisalevu said when he saw Sowakula for the first time he had wanted to play him in the second row.

“He was not that big but he was bulky. He was the fittest player and played above expectation. Like I said before he doesn’t hold back when it comes to defence, in the contact area he doesn’t give up and keeps moving forward that shows how strong he is. Also, his work rate is way up there.”

Tomorrow, in Round 2, the Chiefs take on Blues at the FMG Stadium Waikato. The match kicks off at 7.05 pm.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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