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Ex-Super Star Tanivula On The Drua

The former Nadi mentor who guided his side to the 2008 Farebrother and Skipper Cup wins says that those selected into the Fijian Drua squad must take things seriously.
01 Oct 2021 12:19
Ex-Super Star Tanivula On The Drua
Former Fijiana coach, Iliesa Tanivula.

The inclusion of the Fijian Drua Club in the Super Rugby series heralds exciting times across all factions of rugby union including fans here and abroad.

“The inclusion of the Fijian Drua Club is catalyst for exposing more home-grown Fijian rugby talents,” former super rugby star Iliesa Tanivula said from Nadi.

Tanivula, a former ACT Brumbies, Auckland Blues and Otago Highlanders utility was the first Fijian born and bred here to play for both Australia and New Zealand super rugby clubs.

He went to New Zealand in 1997 to join the Auckland Development XV.

He was then recruited to play for the Brumbies in 1999, followed by the Blues in 2000 and then the Highlanders in 2001.

The former Nadi mentor who guided his side to the 2008 Farebrother and Skipper Cup wins says that those selected into the Fijian Drua squad must take things seriously.

“When I came back in 2006, I saw that players lacked off season training,” he said.

“I then devised a programme and it worked. In 2008 all the trophies came to Nadi – the Colonial Cup, the franchise competition and the prestigious Farebrother trophy.

“Off season training is important. Some teams are still not utilising this well.

“In our test against the All Blacks, we played well in the first half but in the second half we could not last the final minutes.

“It is important to have a good off-season programme. The players should take ownership, make sure all the boxes are ticked.

“For Nadi last year, during some of their games including the Farebrother trophy although they had five phases, they still lost the ball.

“The strength and condition of the team can engage 25 to 40 phases.

Tanivula had attended Namaka Public School before enrolling at Natabua High School where he was a champion sprinter during the Coca Cola Games. He was in the Fiji Under-17 side before joining the Auckland development rugby XV in 1997.

He returned to Fiji in 1998 to play for Jacks Nadi in the Farebrother Sullivan Trophy challenge against Suva.

It was there that he was spotted by Eddie Jones who signed him up with the ACT Brumbies.

He made his debut for Auckland for their National Provincial Championship (NPC) competition in 1999 and won the NPC.

He had offers from the Auckland Blues to be part of their Super 12 team in 2000, he took up the offer a year later.

Tanivula was part of the national the New Zealand sevens side in the early 2000’s.

“It was good experience under different coaches – what was common among them was the off-season three months training,” he said.

“We had to work ourselves-off, sacrifice our Christmas and New Year breaks. Looking at the off season you need to have the energy to last the whole season. We have had to keep on running. Picking the local boys for Super Rugby is a good thing but they need to work.

“At the end of the season games are important. We still must play until the last games of the season; to determine the next games. We have had to work week in and week out,” Tanivula said.

Tanivula was named NPC player in 2003 after his brilliant performance in guiding the Auckland side to another victory – retaining the title.

He then headed to Japan in 2005 to represent the Kamaishi Seawaves. A series of injuries to both of his knees ended his playing career in 2006.

He returned to Fiji to coach regional teams. He is the former coach of the national women sevens side (Fijiana).

Feedbackwaisean@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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