Rugby

Robinson A Faithful Servant

We all served in different roles but undoubtedly Derek’s one of the big servants of Fiji Rugby- Barrie Sweetman Apart from the 1964 tour of Europe, he was instrumental in negotiating Wales playing Fiji at Buckhurst Park (now ANZ Stadium) on June 25, 1969-Ilaitia Tuisese
26 Jan 2021 14:34
Robinson A Faithful Servant
The late Derek Robinson (left) with Fiji Rugby Union’s women’s development manager, Vela Naucukidi.

 

Derek Robinson’s was one of the Fiji Rugby Union’s big servants,says Barrie Sweetman.

The FRU life member and longtime chairman said not only the Gower, Wales native was a long serving rugby administrator, he was a very able manager and a good referee.

Robinson, 87, died in Palmerston North, New Zealand yesterday.

He came to Fiji as an agricultural officer in 1961 and was FRU secretary from 1962 to 975, a particularly glorious chapter of Fiji rugby.

It was his connections that helped organise the groundbreaking tour of Wales in 1964.

In recognition of his yearsof voluntary work for Fijian rugby, he was made an FRU life member.

“When I came to Fiji he was already secretary of FRU,”Sweetman said.

“And when I became chairman in 1973, Derek is still the secretary.

“We all served in different roles but undoubtedly Derek’s one of the big servants of Fiji Rugby.

“He’s one of the pioneers of the game back in the good old amateur days where we used to operate from a room with one typewriter and one employee at Queensland Arcade in Suva.

“But through the hard work and rugby connections of Derek, the Flying Fijians managed to tour abroad.

“Through Derek’s hard work the Fijians managed to make their first Northern Tour in 1964 where they played France and Wales.”

In an interview with SUNsports when he attended FRU centennial celebration match between the Classic All Blacks and the Flying Fijians in 2013, Robinson said: “In 1962 the FRU president Sir Maurice Scott called for a annual general meeting (AGM) for the four provincial Unions-Rewa, Lautoka, Nadi and Suva.

“And an item on the agenda was the proposed tour of Europe in 1964.

“I had my contacts in Wales and helped in the negotiations. ”

The Fijians lost to France 3-21 in Paris and to Wales 22-28.

Sweetman said Robinson was also a good manager.

And fellow life member/ former captain/manager Ilaitia Tuisese said Robinson was their manager when they toured New Zealand in 1974.

“He was very instrumental in the buildup and planned everything down to the detail,”Tuisese said.

“He’s hardworking, loves rugby through and through being a Welshman.

“Apart from the 1964 tour of Europe, he was instrumental in negotiating Wales playing Fiji at Buckhurst Park (now ANZ Stadium) on June 25, 1969. We lost 13-31 and the rugby public should not forget what Derek has done for the country.

“We are reaping the benefits now but Derek is among the rugby faithfuls who helped lay the foundations.

“I worked with him in the Agriculture Department and he’s so faithful to Fiji and rugby.”

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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