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Tavatavanawai Toughest: Ratave

Fijian-born Moana Pasi­fika winger Timoci Ta­vatavanawai (right inset) is the toughest opponent to beat in all Super Rugby Pa­cific matches, says for­mer Swire Shipping Fijian Drua winger Onisi Ratave.
09 Jun 2022 16:30
Tavatavanawai Toughest: Ratave
Former Fijian Drua winger Onisi Ratave (right inset) Timoci Tavatavanawai

Fijian-born winger Timoci Ta­vatavanawai (right inset) is the toughest opponent to beat in all Super Rugby Pa­cific matches, says for­mer Swire Shipping Fijian Drua winger Onisi Ratave.

Super Rugby statistics have in­dicated that Tav­atavanawai tops the defenders beaten, with 73.

There were moments in the Drua-Moana match that saw Rat­ave, and others in the team, having trouble trying to stop their Fijian rival.

Ratave, who stands at 1.79 metres, and weighs 99 kilograms, was one of the Drua’s try-scoring machine last season. He scored six tries in 11 matches. Yet, he still admitted that Tavatavanawai was tough.

“With all the teams we faced, there was no tougher opponent than Jim (Tavatavanawai), despite our 34-19 win against Moana,” Ratave said.

Looking back on Super Rugby, his best memory was the 28-33 loss to Queensland Red in Round 4.

“We almost won that game against the Reds: it is one of my best memo­ries of the Super Rugby matches.”

Moving on

With Ratave’s Super Rugby con­tract over, he said being part of the country’s first Super Rugby team was an unforgetta­ble experience.

The centre turned winger said it was a great journey, with a lot of learning.

The 30-year-old from Naqarani in Noco, Rewa, has signed a two-year deal with Italy-based club Benet­ton, where he and his wife Losalini and their four children will move to next month.

“It was a great experience. I have learnt a lot of things especially time management, discipline, men­tal preparation as well as physical fitness,” he said.

“Our visa launch is in process and will likely to leave next month upon approval. Italy will be new, es­pecially with food and weather but the game of rugby will still be the same.”

While other players adore interna­tional rugby players, Ratave indi­cated he was inspired by his cous­in, former Drua and Flying Fijians utility back Serupepeli Vularika.

“For me, Vularika has always mo­tivated me to play rugby, and I have worked hard to follow him.

“We started playing together for our village team, Naqarani, but he was selected first into the Suva team and then the national side.

“I started playing for Naqarani when I was 17, as an outside centre, then I joined Rewa later.

“In 2009, I was part of the students who started the John Wesley Col­lege rugby academy. That’s where my rugby journey started.”

Ratave also played for Bay of Plen­ty Steamers in the National Provin­cial Championship (NPC) in New Zealand. Steamers was his first overseas club after being drafted in the Flying Fijians extended squad against the All Blacks in July last year.

He was also part of the ex­tended Fijian 7s squad preparing for the 2020 Olympics.

Ratave also joined the National Fire Authority, where he played for the Fire 7s rugby team and later Na­mosi for the Skipper Cup competi­tion.

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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