SPORTS | Super Rugby

Our 3 With The Rebels

Three Fijian players are hopeful of getting a run for the Melbourne Rebels in their must-win clash against the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua side on Friday night.
02 Mar 2022 18:00
Our 3 With The Rebels
Left: Prop Emosi Tuqiri. Photo: Rebels Middle : Winger Ilikena (Ily) Vudogo Photo: Rebels Right: Halfback Moses Sorovi Photo: Rebels

Three Fijian players are hopeful of getting a run for the Melbourne Rebels in their must-win clash against the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua side on Friday night.

The Rebels have lost their Fijian players of Marika Koribete, Isi Naisarani, Sefa Naivalu and Frank Lomani to overseas clubs.

But this time around the Melbourne club have brought in Flying Fijians halfback Moses Sorovi, former Fijian Under-20 reps Ilikena (Ily) Vudogo and prop Emosi Tuqiri.

According to the Courier Mail in 2017, there were more than 62,000 hits on Tuqiri’s highlights reel.

At that time, he was a 138 kilogramme internet sensation as the flamboyant face of a new wave of Fijian rugby talent.

He is the cousin of former Australian rugby star winger, Lote Tuqiri.

“I’m lucky to get good advice from Lote and my brother Elia (Souths’ Premier Rugby coach), who both say not to be impatient but focus on school and a balance in life,” Tuqiri told Courier Mail in 2017.

The Brisbane-based prop represented the Fijian U20 rugby side in 2019 when they played the Junior Wallabies.

In that Fijian U20 side, he played alongside Tevita Ikanivere, Christopher Minimbi, Simione Kuruvoli and Caleb Muntz who are currently playing for the Drua.

Vudogo was the star of the Fijian U20 win in the 2018 World Rugby U20 Trophy in Romania.

In that Fijian team, Vudogo played alongside Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallists Vilimoni Botitu and Meli Derenalagi.

Botitu now plays for Castres in the French Top 14 while Derenalagi is with the Drua side.

The clips of Vudogo on the internet where his electrifying speed, dancing feet, offloading ability and penchant for popping up at the right time all feature, were noticed by Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) club Brisbane Broncos, who signed him up.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vudogo returned home but did not play in the 2020 Skipper Cup competition despite training with Tailevu because of his contract with the Broncos.

He returned to Australia, last year and signed with the Rebels where he played in the final quarter of their Super Rugby match.

Sorovi, who made his debut for the Flying Fijians last year joined the Rebels, this year after playing for the Queensland Reds.

The livewire halfback started his sporting career playing rugby league on Yam Island, a two square kilometre blip in the central Torres Strait about 100km northwest of Thursday Island, where Sorovi grew up.

Lote Tuqiri was his footy idol– but long before his switch to rugby.

Sorovi’s dad Mosese (Snr) hails from Matanuku, Ravitaki in Kadavu and is a former Australian cruiserweight boxing champion.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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