Rugby

Watch Jerry Strikes

Fijians have an extra skip when Seremaia Tuwai leads way-Ben Ryan
30 Dec 2020 14:14
Watch Jerry Strikes
Seremaia “Jerry” Tuwai will be one to watch at the Tokyo Olymics next year. Photo: World Rugby

Ben Ryan has singled out World Rugby 7s Players of the Decade Seremaia ‘Jerry’ Tuwai as the man to watch at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The former 7s coach, who won the first ever gold medal for Fiji at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, has picked Tuwai as among the seven players who he thinks will have fans on the edge of their seats at the world event.

With the Tokyo Olympics now only mere months away, there is no better person to share his take on rugby’s short code than the Englishman.

Ryan spoke highly of Tuwai, the only surviving member of his all conquering Rio team to lead the gold medal defence in Tokyo:

Ryan told World Rugby: Jerry is arguably the best player in world rugby for the last three to four years. With his mesmerising attack and his clamp-like defence as a sweeper, he is incredibly important on both sides of the ball.

“I’d say his footwork is up there with Waisale Serevi and William Ryder. If Jerry is playing well, you can see the rest of the side all have an extra skip in their stride.

“A gold medal winner in Rio, he has also been a part of this amazing run that Fiji has had in winning five consecutive Hong Kong Sevens titles.”

Ryan said it was not just Fijian rugby that had reached new heights in Rio, the re-admittance of rugby to the Olympics – in sevens as opposed to 15s,– had done wonders for the sport as a whole.

“The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the calendar and getting into the Olympic family has given rugby extra credibility as well as opening a lot of doors at almost every level in terms of new territories, new supporters, new commercial opportunities, and more links into elite sport,”Ryan said.

“It is something we really need to build on as well as we possibly can over the next couple of cycles. That means having exciting games at the Olympics, having a clean sport and creating some superstars. We did all of those things in Rio.”

Apart from Tuwai,Ryan reveals the other six players  who he thinks will shine in Tokyo.

Maurice Longbottom (Australia)

He came across from the NRL and has developed into one of these X-factor players. Whenever he gets the ball, he really does some magical things and, on his day, he is as good as anyone in the world.

Caleb Clarke (New Zealand)

An incredibly powerful player who is already carving it up for the Blues in Super Rugby. He is not a Lomu, but he plays that type of role, at either centre or wing.

Nathan Hirayama (Canada)

Has been around the scene for a long time and is like a Ben Gollings with his ability to control a game and to kick vital points. Most good things Canada do revolve around him.

Perry Baker (USA)

Was part of the USA team that had a disappointing Olympics in Rio despite the hype around them. I don’t think they’ll make the same mistakes twice, though. He has got incredible amounts of pace, but he is also a very well-rounded footballer

Selvyn Davids (South Africa)

Relatively new to the scene but is slowly replacing Cecil Afrika as that midfield dynamo..

Santiago Mare (Argentina)

A big unit – over 100kgs – he is one of those who can mix it with the most powerful Pacific Islanders, South Africans and Kiwis.

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