Rugby

 Flyer Tikoisolomone Calls Dad at Qamea

‘Vereniki is finally the professional rugby player he dreamt to be five years ago’
14 Dec 2021 14:57
 Flyer Tikoisolomone Calls Dad at Qamea
Vereniki Tikoisolomone races away for a try for Taranaki against Hawke’s Bay in August, 2021.

Arguably the quickest player in this season’s National Provincial Championship, Vereniki Tikoi­solomone had played down a Swire Ship­ping Fijian Drua offer a couple of months ago to give way to local players.

Jet-heeled Taranaki wing Tikoisolo­mone, 23, called his father Iosefo Tikoi­solomone at Naivivi, Wainikeli on Qamea Island on Sunday to tell him that he was replacing Highlanders midfielder/wing Patelesio Tomkinson for Super Rugby Pa­cific 2022.

Tomkinson, who has played 31 games for the Highlanders, hurt his left foot in the NPC Championship final and will require surgery that will rule him out of the new-look 2022 Super Rugby Pacific competi­tion.

Tomkinson’s bad news means an oppor­tunity for try scoring machine Tikoisolo­mone, who scored five tries for the all-con­quering Taranaki side this season.

Tikoisolomone, who first attracted atten­tion when scoring 13 tries for Whanganui in the 2019 Heartland Championship, has genuine speed, and was possibly unlucky not to be picked up in the initial Super Rugby squad selection.

“He had called us after lunch Sunday to say that he was waiting for his 2pm flight to fly up Southland to join the Highland­ers for his three year contract,” Tikoisolo­mone senior said from Naivivi yesterday.

“We are just as excited as him as five years ago while we, his parents had plans for him he wanted to be enrolled at the Lelean Memorial School Sports Academy. He told us that rugby was going to be his profession back then in 2016,” he said.

“He was in Year 11 at Holy Cross Second­ary, he was the school sprinter, he was a average student and we had plans for him to go to university.

“He told us a few months ago that he was offered a place with the Drua but he turned it down because he was already in New Zealand.

“With the opportunity to represent ei­ther Fiji or New Zealand he has been telling us that, that will rest on the Man above.

“We are Catholics and he has not shied away from that. He is leaving everything on God’s hands.

“Vereniki calls us twice every day, he sponsored our sector youth team to the recent Wairiki Sevens.

“Like what he older brother (Renato) did to him he is now supporting his younger brother who is now attending school in Suva and older sister who has recently graduated from university.

“Vereniki is finally the professional player he dreamt to be five years ago.

“His prayers and ours have been an­swered. Our hard work in building our St Benedict church on Qamea three ago is paying dividend – we give thanks to our Creator.”

It was his older brother Renato who had initially arranged his going over to NZ. Forward Renato plays for Borders and also represents Wanganui in the NPC competition.

karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj

 



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