Former Fijian 7s Star Toga Dies In Sydney

Jo died after a long illness at the Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia on March 9 around 8am.
16 May 2021 13:32
Former Fijian 7s Star Toga Dies In Sydney
Josateki Toga.

Former Fijian 7s forward Josateki Turuva Saukuru Toga (fondly known as Jo Toga) has passed away at the age of 61.

His younger brother, Sinukula Toga, said yesterday that Jo died after a long illness at the Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia on March 9 around 8am.

“Back then when we were growing up (in Saunaka Village) there was a great challenge for us to play rugby and to wear the Fijian jumper,” Sinukula said.

“We had a lot of national reps and our uncles Sela Toga Snr (Flying Fijians captain) and rugby league convert Apisai Toga played for St George Dragons had paved the way for us. Also among them was my big brother.”

Jo played at prop in the abbreviation code and is well-remembered for scoring the lone try in the 12-6 loss to New Zealand in the final of the 1987 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 7s at the So Kon Po.

It was the first time the Kiwis led by Wayne Shelford along with Zinzan Brooke and Franco Botica were taken to the wire.

A feature of Jo’s play was his tactical kicking that resulted in three quick tries in Fiji’s 14-8 win over a star-studded Australian side led by David Campese and Simon Poidevin in the Cup semifinal.

That year the team had the likes of Pauliasi Tabulutu, Esala Labalaba, Savenaca Aria, Manasa Qoro, Apisai Sesewa, Tomasi Cama and Meli Rabonu.

They were coached by Aliposo Waqaliti.

The Saunaka, Nadi native was born on August 13, 1959.

His rugby career began at Nadi District School and moved on to Ratu Kadavulevu School (House Ma’afu) where he set a high jump record during the Fiji Finals (Now known as the CocaCola Games).

In fifteens, he played centre. He was part of the Saunaka 7s team that won most of the local 7s tournaments in the country during the early the 1980s.

Jo got a rugby contract to play for the Paramatta Blues in Sydney from 1990 to 1997.

He retired and became a lay preacher in a local church there. His funeral will be held on Monday.

Jo is survived by his wife and a child.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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