Rugby | SPORTS

Bolaca Out Of Commonwealth Squad

Head coach Ben Gollings has brought in France-based Sireli Maqala to replace Bolaca.
08 Jul 2022 15:00
Bolaca Out Of Commonwealth Squad
Sevens playmaker Napolioni Bolaca is dropped from the Fiji men’s team for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Photo: Stephen Tremain

The Team Fiji men’s rugby sev­ens side suffered a setback in their Commonwealth Games gold medal campaign for Birming­ham.

This was after the axe was dropped on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist and playmaker Napolioni Bolaca.

When contacted yesterday, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor confirmed that Bol­aca was injured.

On May 6, FRU ended Bolaca’s se­condment with the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua after playing a few Su­per Rugby Pacific games after com­ing in as substitute.

He immediately made an impact in starring for the Fijian 7s team as they won the Singapore and France tournaments of the HSBC World Sevens Series.

Head coach Ben Gollings has brought in France-based Sireli Maqala to replace Bolaca.

Maqala, had a good season helping his Bayonne promoted to next sea­son’s Top 14.

He has been in camp the past two weeks and is working on his transi­tion from fifteens to sevens rugby.

Kerevi, Nawaqanitawase in

This was what Fiji-born Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi is worried about when he was named in the Austral­ian 7s squad.

“It’s uncomfortable, it’s uncomfort­able for a big guy like me to have five or seven metres either side of me and having to track a guy that has great feet and great speed, so a part of it is me stepping into uncomfort­able zone that I want to overcome,” Kerevi told ESPN.

“Those boys have been nothing but welcoming to me and the coaching staff just there to support because you know, if I make this squad or not.

“I’m just there to influence the boys in a positive way and give back a bit of knowledge that I’ve learned from the game.”

Kerevi got his chance to play for Australia again at last year’s Olym­pic Games but this time it was the seven-man game.

“Having built a close bond with his teammates at the Olympics, he wants to thank the programme by winning a Commonwealth Games medal.

“They’re (the sevens squad) very important to me, they hold a special part in my heart,” Kerevi said.

“I was away for a long time and for me to be able to come back to Aus­tralia and put on a gold jersey was important to me.

“Even though it wasn’t the 15s at the time, they gave me that oppor­tunity and welcomed me with open arms, it was really special.

“That was that was kind of the bond we made last year after the Olympics, I kind of gave them my word that if I was available I’d defi­nitely come back and try for the Commonwealth Games.”

Australian 7s winger Fijian descent Mark Nawaqanitawase is currently in the country playing for Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Rokolisoa back in black

Defending Commonwealth Games gold medal champions New Zealand has got Akuila Rokolisoa at half­back.

The Tavualevua, Tavua, native was New Zealand’s unsung hero when they hoisted the Sevens Rugby World Cup’s title at AT&T Park in San Francisco in 2018. That time he was playing alongside Jona Nareki and Joe Ravouvou.

Bavadra for England

Meanwhile, hosts England has in­cluded Api Bavadra in their squad. The 22-year-old represented England in 2019 at the Paris Sevens 2019.

The sevens rugby competition of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games will be from July 29-31.


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