Rugby | SPORTS

Nabua Maroons 3 Reach Olympic Peak

What do Olympians Sireli Maqala, Jiuta Wainiqolo and Saiasi Fuli have in common? They once donned the Maroon jersey of the famous Nabua Rugby Club, a Suva suburb known for
12 Aug 2021 12:19
Nabua Maroons 3 Reach Olympic Peak
Nabua Rugby Club coach Jimi Malumu at the famous CMC training ground in Nabua on August 5, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord. Insert: LEFT: Nabua Rugby products Sireli Maqala and Jiuta Wainiqolo.

What do Olympians Sireli Maqala, Jiuta Wainiqolo and Saiasi Fuli have in common?

They once donned the Maroon jersey of the famous Nabua Rugby Club, a Suva suburb known for breeding stars and legends of the rugby code, who later became suc­cessful coaches as well.

The famous CMC ground in Nabua, famous for its undulating surface, is where it all started for them.

Maqala and Wainiqolo are mem­bers of the Gareth Baber-coached side, which successfully retained the gold medal at the Tokyo Olym­pics; Fuli coached the Team Fiji women’s sevens side to win bronze, dismissing the heavyweights along the way.

And elders and players are not at least surprised by the trio reaching Olym­ pic stardom after surviving the culture and hard slog at Nabua.

The team culture and knowledge passed on by legends of the rugby code makes Nabua a unique rugby club.

 

Ratu Kitione Tuibua
A culture that was set by for­mer Fiji sevens coach, the late Ratu Kitione Vesikula Tuibua, who coached the Nabua rugby side in the early 90s.

Known famously as ‘Tu Kiti’, he set the bar, which was fol­lowed by current coaches who continue to generate good players today.

Tu Kiti later set the precedent by being the first coach to win the Hong Kong Sevens three years in a row (1990-92).

The Nabua rugby culture created legends of the game like World Rugby Hall of Fame Waisale Sere­vi, Kata Ratumuri, Mesake Rasari, Tomasi Cama (Snr), Alivereti Dere, Apisai Mucunabitu, Pauliasi Tabu­lutu, Sakiasi Vomolagi, Ilaitia La­lai, Filimone Seru and the Rauluni brothers, Meli, Vesi, Peni and Vili.

Today, Wainiqolo, Maqala and Fuli continue the Nabua rugby tradition capping off with Olympic success.

 

Club Culture
Speaking to SUNsports Nabua rugby coach, Jimi Malumu, said the key to breaking legends in the club is discipline.

“Discipline, hard work, patience and humility and tough training sessions was the foundation set by Tu Kiti,” he said.

“We still follow that formula to­day and we are very proud to have created three more legends. We are not surprised that Wainiqolo and Maqala are Olympic gold medal­lists. ”

“The club still uses Tu Kiti’s slo­gans today: hang your ego, pride, indiscipline and national rep status on that electricity pole.”

“When players join the club, they hang everything on the electricity post on the other side of the road.”

“We have been following that cul­ture ever since and it something good for the players and the team.”

“Famous players like Noa Na­druku knows the suffering and pain even before training at the CMC ground.”

“Mesake Rasari walked out of training only to be called by Tu Kiti to continue and Nacanieli Saumi as well.”

“Our current gold medalist, Wainiqolo, cried during a training session under Tomasi Cama (Snr) who then told Wainiqolo that he has only heard of him but never met him.”

“The training sessions were so tough that it would break a player so at the same time discipline was the top priority.”

“Training would be tough back than but if you had patience and courage you will go a long way in rugby.”

“Then they are told to put their head down and work hard towards what they are here to do and what they want to achieve in terms of their rugby career.

The club has done a very huge job in terms of looking after the play­ers so they can be something in life.

“You have to be mentally and physically fit if you want to join the Nabua rugby club.”

 

Olympian Jiuta Wainiqolo
Olympian Wainiqolo said Nabua rugby always had a special place in his heart.

“Nabua rugby is so important to my rugby carreer because that is where I gained a lot of rugby knowledge,” he said.

“My rugby skills were carved up at the training ground in Nabua and shaped me up to be where I am today.

“That training ground makes or break a player and it’s all about guts whenever I turn up at that ground.

”A lot of rugby legends and my idols played for Nabua rugby, like Waisale Serevi and them.”

 

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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