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Nothing Else Matters When I’m Home: Lomani

“I did not return home until I made the Fiji team the very same year."
18 Jul 2022 17:45
Nothing Else Matters When I’m Home: Lomani
International rugby player, Frank Lomani, says the best barbecue in Nadi is made at Sailor’s Beach, Wailoaloa. Photo: Frederica Elbourne. Inset: Part of the view at Nukubalavu, Savusavu.

National rugby union player and Fijian Drua scrum half, Frank Lomani, was a runaway child in 2015, when he first left his homeland in Vanua Levu.

“I did not return home until I made the Fiji team the very same year.”

 

Setting The Record Straight

“Many people claim I came to the mainland because I attended Marist or RKS, but the truth is I completed my entire high school at St Bedes College,” he said.

“I left Vanua Levu for the first time when I headed for Suva, because I did not want to take up the bank job offer my parents had lined up for me at Westpac.”

“Personnel from the bank came to school, came to see my parents, to ask that I join the bank straight after Form Seven external exams.

“But I ran away.”

Lomani sought two weeks of refuge with an uncle in the capital city. “It was a long story,” Lomani said. “But I was confident of my future in rugby.”

 

Business Interests

Rugby aside, business management is his next best interest.

“I want to run a kava business,” he said.

Lomani continues to assist his father in the family’s kava farming business, after it received its export licence.

“We are selling to the local market, until we have established a buyer in Australia.”

 

Been Around the World

Having visited more than 15 countries in the past seven years, Lomani maintained there was no place like home.

“I can’t say I have been around the world, but I have been to some places,” he said.

He returned to Fiji from the United Kingdom in March, to join the Drua in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2023.

“I’m based here now,” Lomani said.

 

“I travelled a lot between United Kingdom and Australia, before I returned to Fiji.”

“Anything can change,” he said.

Now in his mid-20s, the Nukubalavu-born rugby star who “never really left Vanua Levu” until he was 18, has the world at his feet.

He describes himself as a “normal person, easy to get along with, and down to earth”.

 

Teetotaller

A teetotaller, he enjoys keeping his feet on the ground.

He may order the occasional mocktail, and linger for a moment, before he heads off on his own.

“When someone I don’t know calls out to me on the street, I return the greeting to make it seem we are al- ready acquainted,” Lomani said.

“I don’t want to walk around with my head in the clouds – with all the fame that surrounds you for being a rugby star.

“That’s not who I am.”

 

Ticking Off Some Boxes

In the next five years, Lomani sees himself playing rugby at the highest level of the game.

“I have been ticking off some boxes to get there,” he said.

“I have achieved two of my personal goals – Super Rugby which is the highest level on this side of the hemisphere, and premiership in the United Kingdom.”

“I have played in the Rugby World Cup, that’s another tick off the box.”

 

Choices that Determine Change

Rugby changed Lomani’s life for the better.

“When you see me train, or when you see me in trials, I give it my all,” he said.

“If I had stuck in the village, I would have been smoking and causing trouble.

“Or I would have been a dad now, like my friends back in the village who are my age.

“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – I just wanted to make a difference.”

 

Humbled by his influence and of the impact of his decision to chase his dreamsk, Lomani has an appreciation for youngsters who look up to him.

“When children back in the village to look up to you with hope of a better future for them, you know you have done something good.

“Education is important, but rugby is more important.”

“Not everyone can be a teacher, not everyone can be a doctor – to each, his own.”

“And rugby is an option.”

 

Where in Fiji Would You Take Friends To?

Savusavu.

You won’t know its beauty until you get there.

It is the hidden paradise.

People who visit for the first time refuse to leave when it’s time to return.

At home in Nukubalavu, Savusavu, I have fun.

Nothing else matters when I’m back at home, in the village.

When I get there, there is no telephone reception.

So I leave my phone at home, to join my family in having fun, through activities such as going to the farm early in the morning.

 

What Is Your Favourite Spot For a Coffee or Pie?

The Coffee Hub.

There is a special taste to their coffee.

Coffee at The Coffee Hub Nadi. Source: @thecoffeehubfiji · Coffee shop FaceBook Page

Coffee at The Coffee Hub Nadi. Source: @thecoffeehubfiji · Coffee shop FaceBook Page

What Is Your Favourite Backyard Spot?

Wailoaloa.

The sunsets are glorious.

The beach is a beautiful spot to escape to for a breather and fresh air, and of course, the view.

And Sailor’s Beach offers the best ever barbecue that side of Nadi.

Wailoaloa beach in Nadi, is home to some glorious golden sunsets.

Wailoaloa beach in Nadi, is home to some glorious golden sunsets.

What Is One Place in Fiji on Your Bucket List?

Lau.

I have seen videos and photos of the islands, which are like the Great Barrier Reef.

It looks like a good place to go for a picnic.

The white sandy beaches are alluring.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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