Rugby

Daugunu’s Amazing Journey

New Wallabies winger lost his mum at 7, visa rejected twice and missed flights but kept on trying
15 Sep 2020 13:21
Daugunu’s Amazing  Journey
New Wallabies winger, Filipo Daugunu.

The struggles to play internationally and get a job at the same time was what propelled Filipo Daugunu to move to Viti Levu, then to Brisbane, Australia

This was revealed to SUNsports yesterday by his aunty Litia Naiteqe, who indicated that the Australian Wallabies winger lost his mum when he was in Year 2.

“It has been an amazing journey for the family,” Naiteqe said

“We have endured so many sacrifices and hardships while trying to continue supporting my nephew in his rugby career.

“We have always known that he would do very well. The switch in career from football to rugby did not surprise us at all, as rugby runs in the family.”

Daugunu’s dad Kata was a triallist for the Fijian B team in 1986 while his grandfather, Esira was also part of the national rugby team in the 1970s.

Daugunu played football while attending Qelemumu Primary School and Dogotuki Secondary School in Macuata. He then joined Labasa Sangam (SKM) College.

Naiteqe said in football he played goalkeeper and represented the Fijian Under-17 team that toured New Zealand in 2011. He also played for Labasa from 2013-2014 before being selected for the Fijian U23.

She indicated that in early 2015, then Fiji Under-20 rugby coach Bill Gadolo went to Vanua Levu to scout for players.

“On that day in Labasa, Lipo was on his way to do his normal football training at Subrail Park, then he heard about this trial.

“He just went in for the sake of it and surprisingly, his beep tests plus other trial results were so good that Gadolo roped him instantly into his squad.”

There was no turning back as Daugunu made the Fijian U20 side and went on to play in the World Trophy Championship in Argentina.

On his return, Daugunu was advised by his uncle and former national rugby flanker Sailosi Naiteqe to return to Vanua Levu and play in a lot of sevens tournaments to improve on his game time and experience.

He did that.

Daugunu returned to Viti Levu in 2016 and played for Wardens at the Coral Coast 7s in Sigatoka.

“It was there Lote Tuqiri spotted him and passed his name to one of the Australian agents,” Naiteqe said.

“He then joined his cousin Eroni and played for the Police 7s team in his search for employment.

“He was again spotted by Ben Ryan and was included in the Fijian 7s training squad.”

Naiteqe said before signing his contract with Parelete Sports and Management agents Mark Lowndes and Keith Sanga, Daugunu had to sort for his father’s approval and blessings.

“His dad gave his support and blessings and Lipo’s rugby career just took off,” she added.

His agent Sanga said it had been a rewarding experience.

“From two visa rejections, missed flights and all the negotiations we have to do with the clubs to so sign him on.”

 

Edited by Maika Bolatiki

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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