Rugby | SPORTS | Super Rugby

‘All In The Mind’

The key word in Super Rugby is to be mentally strong ac­cording to ex-Super 12 wing­er from Namotomoto, Nadi in the province of Ba, Iliesa Samusamu­vodre Tanivula.
24 May 2022 16:00
‘All In The Mind’
Iliesa Tanivula.

The key word in Super Rugby is to be mentally strong ac­cording to ex-Super 12 wing­er from Namotomoto, Nadi in the province of Ba, Iliesa Samusamu­vodre Tanivula.

The former Brumbies (one sea­son), Auckland Blues (one season) and Otago Highlanders (four sea­sons) rep was the second Fijian winger to break into the highly rat­ed Super Rugby arena 30 years ago.

The first was Nasaucoko, Nama­taku (Nadroga) born and late block­buster Joeli Vidiri.

“There is so much learning from this Super Rugby season which the Fijian Drua players have drawn from; unless they are mentally strong they can keep coming back at it,” ex-All Blacks sevens rep Tanivula said from Nadi yesterday.

“Super Rugby is another level– your mentality must be strong to face the opposition week in and week out. The Swire Shipping Fiji­an Drua are playing well, their per­formances speak volumes of their progress, the stats have so many positives stacked against them and this is great for them in their Super Rugby debut.”

The former Fijian Warriors coach was the 1993 blue ribbon champion during the Coca-Cola Games under the Natabua High School flag, who has had a colourful coaching record under his belt both in provincial and national level.

Tanivula had coached the Nadi rugby team in 2008 creating history by winning the Farebrother-Sulli­van Trophy as well as the Provin­cial Cup.

He also guided the Western Cru­saders (franchise) team which won the Colonial Cup. In early 2009, he guided the Warriors to win the 2009 Pacific Rugby Cup where they de­feated Upolu Samoa in the final.

Looking back on how he started with Super 12, Tanivula admitted the journey was tougher.

“As a 19-year old back then every­thing was new, the environment, weather and pace. The three of us (Timoci Bolakoro and Ilaisa Gon­ebure) got to meet the first Fijian after four months. Money was used for phone calls back home and win­ter was cruel to us,” he said.

“Our clubs arranged work for us which we worked for eight hours before we went for training. It was a lot of adjusting in a new environ­ment starting with the age-group rugby, to provincial (Super Rugby) then All Blacks sevens, unlike these Drua players straight into Super Rugby with your fellow country­men. With their (Drua) sterling debut they should suck in as much as they can to progress as a better team in the coming season. For us who have played Super Rugby this is something we have always dreamed – to have a group of us (Fijians) play against the greats in the game in this part of the globe at home.”

It is a walk down memory lane for Tanivula, this Saturday – he is coaching the much-improved Ya­sawa side that will take on Lautoka in the curtain raiser match prior to the Chiefs-Drua match at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.

Feedbacks: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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