Rugby

On Debut: Waterboy Takali Replaces Icon Tuwai

His first major tournament ignites desire to represent Fiji internationally.
26 Sep 2020 14:43
On Debut: Waterboy Takali Replaces Icon Tuwai
Sailasa Takali, after he replaced Olympic Gold medallist and Fiji Airways Fijian 7s playmaker, Jerry Tuwai at the ANZ Stadium during the 44th Marist Fiji Bitter Marist 7s on September 25, 2020. Photo: Simione Haravanua

It was a dream come true yesterday for waterboy turned playmaker, Sailasa Takali, after he replaced Olympic Gold medallist and Fiji Airways Fijian 7s playmaker, Jerry Tuwai.

The Votua villager had to leave behind his water bottles and put on a pair of red boots to help boost the Barbarian brigade after one of their players was flashed a red card.

“This is definitely a great story and memory that I will cherish forever and share with my family and villagers back home and everywhere I go,” the 21-year-old said.

“It’s just unbelievable because I came with Tuwai as a waterboy and now I’m playing my first ever Marist 7s tournament.”

His elusiveness on the field caught the opposition guessing and the crowd entertained during the 44th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s at the ANZ Stadium yesterday.

Speaking to Sun Sports Takali said he could not believe his luck.

“To be honest, I’m blessed and honored to have replaced Jerry. Not often you see someone replace him, it only happens during the HSBC 7s series,” he said.

“I was just watching him play at the World 7s series last season and now I just replaced the world’s best 7s player.

“It’s just amazing to be part of a team that’s packed with experience and 7s knowledge. I’m learning a lot from the players when I’m the waterboy, and now I’m playing.

“When they told me to go in as an extra player, I was excited because I’ve been playing 7s rugby in the West, but not in a big tournament like this.

“When I ran into the field to sub him (Tuwai), I was excited and at the back of my mind, I couldnt believe the fact that I’m going to replace him; the guy I imitate during touch rugby in the village.”

The 21-year-old continues to be motivated by Tuwai and the team.

He further said: “Jerry has really motivated me to train well and try to be or even better than him, Nacuqu and Ratu.

“Playing along side him and learning new things is something that I’ll use moving forward.

“I’m still young, so I’ll work hard to chase my dreams of wearing the white Fijian jersey.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

 

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