Tuicuvu, Our Man For No.15

He is deemed to be our next running full-back since the days of Josaia Visei, Epeli Turuva and Severo Koroduadua.
12 Nov 2021 11:01
Tuicuvu, Our Man For No.15
Flying Fijians Waisea Nayacalevu and Setareki Tuicuvu at training session in 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Vodafone Flying Fijian Setareki Tuicuvu can be the running full-back last seen three decades ago – like Josaia Visei, Epeli Turuva and Severo Koroduadua – when Fiji face Wales.

Fiji take on Wales on Monday morning (Fiji time).

Nadroga Rugby technical advisor Franck Boivert, who monitored Tuicuvu’s development since 2014, says he is a natural runner who needs to lift a notch against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

“He has the ability to position himself on attack and defence, generally fitting in a pattern that also involves his wingers and back three with good field vision. Field coverage is an asset to the Flying Fijians set-up,” Boivert said.

He said Tuicuvu could take a pass at pace, change angle, and pick up speed.

“Tuicuvu’s passing and catching under the high ball on attack and defence relives the running fullback Fiji is known for to fit into the backline to gain territory,” he said.

“Making a variety of passes on the run, picking up the ball on the ground and accuracy in passes are vital against Wales. He fits into that and, if he bounces off where he left last week then his name is pencilled in the 2023 World Cup.

“Seta was magic in attack against Spain last weekend, but it will be a different story against the Welsh this Sunday.

“He has the capability to lift his game and bring back the running full-back style complemented with his goal kicking capabilities.”

It has been a while since Fiji graced the paddock with free flowing and running rugby.


Former running full-backs

Former national full-backs Visei, Turuva and Koroduadua had set the bar at full-back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Visei was regarded as one of the best running full-backs in the world when Fiji toured the British Isles in 1970.

The Viseisei, Vuda, native was most dangerous when he joined the backline and created space for his fast wingers to run through to score.

Visei’s attacking game was a hit during the 1974 tour to New Zealand where he was a favourite among the Kiwi fans.

Turuva made his debut against Australia in 1984 where Fiji loss 16-3.

His last Test match was against Ireland in 1985 where his try was disallowed due to a controversial call. Ireland edged Fiji 16-15.

Koroduadua played 27 games for Fiji and scored 268 points (56 tries and 47 penalties) in his career.

He was part of the 1987 Rugby World Cup where he played four matches; he played in two games in the 1991 RWC.

Boivert believes Tuicuvu is the full-back that Fiji is searching for.

“He played well at full-back against Spain; something that we have been missing for quite a while in that position,” he said.

“This is a position that we continue to lack in Fiji and Seta has shown full potential in that full-back position.

“It is a shame his French clubs never used his goal kicking abilities as he was the top goal kicker in the provincial competition when playing for Nadi.

“Six Nation teams love to kick for territory from broken play and or set pieces so the ultimate test will be for Tuicuvu to read their kickers’ game.

“Wales know how the Flying Fijians operate and they will want to tire our big boys with kicks.

“The Welsh have brought in the experience of Northampton Saints first five eighth Dan Biggar, who is one of the best place kickers in the game.

“High balls and great kicking game from the Welsh first five eight and halfback will keep Seta busy and from there we will be able to evaluate his full-back status. He now has a contract with France Top 14 club Brive,” he said.




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