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Pain, Rejection Can’t Keep Nacuqu Down

“To lead a team like Fiji is a dream come true but it’s not easy to carry the hopes of a nation on your shoulders. When I was given the opportunity to be the captain I was honoured and grateful.”
14 Sep 2022 11:30
Pain, Rejection Can’t Keep Nacuqu Down
Fiji Airways Fijian Sevens playmaker and captain Waisea Nacuqu with the Melrose Cup in his hotel room in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 12, 2022. Photo: Supplied.

Fiji Airways Fijian men’s rugby sevens captain, Waisea Nacuqu, was in tears at the end of the Rugby World Cup Sevens final on Monday morning (Fiji time).

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, the 29-year-old playmaker said although he was proud of their World Cup win, there were reasons why he broke down.

At first, it took him time to absorb the 29-12 win over the All Blacks Sevens side and they are the world champions again.

 

“It was unreal for me at that point in time,” Nacuqu said.

“I was taken off the ground with a shoulder injury. When the referee blew the final whistle, memories came flashing back to that day in 2005, as a 12-year-old, I was glued to the TV when Waisale Serevi and Viliame Satala lifted the Melrose Cup in Hong Kong.”

The Votua, Ba, native said the celebration in the village that night (in 2005) was still vivid in his mind.

 

“I remembered the moment, we were jumping and cheering.”

Everyone was joyous and the very next minute we were out on the ground playing with plastic bottles, imitating to be those players.”

Nacuqu said what made him cry was that he did not know that 17 years later, he was to hoist the Melrose Cup again for Fiji.

From left: Fiji Airways Fijian Sevens assistant coach Viliame Satala and head coach Ben Gollings in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 12, 2022. Photo: Gabby Abariga

From left: Fiji Airways Fijian Sevens assistant coach Viliame Satala and head coach Ben Gollings in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 12, 2022. Photo: Gabby Abariga

“I thank head coach Ben Gollings, who also played in that 2005 World Cup for England and the Fiji Rugby Union for putting their trust in me to lead the Fiji team.”

“To lead a team like Fiji is a dream come true but it’s not easy to carry the hopes of a nation on your shoulders. When I was given the opportunity to be the captain I was honoured and grateful.”

“I also thank the senior players Jerry Tuwai, Josua Vakurunabili and Sevuloni Mocenacagi for supporting me in the leadership role. I kept reminding the boys that we have to write our names in the history books and create our own legacy.”

 

Turning Point

Standing on that podium, with the Melrose Cup, Nacuqu says, made him reflect on his journey.

“The pain I had to go through, patience along with dedication and commitment.”

Nacuqu said he used all the painful moments he encountered as a stepping stone to achieve bigger and better things.

 

“At the 2018 World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, just a day before the tournament started, I was dropped from the 12-member squad with Eroni Sau.”

“We cried in our (hotel) room because it was real hurtful not to be selected. That’s how tough it is, if we are to earn a spot in the final 12, especially in a tournament like the World Cup.”

“I turned that experience to challenge me to succeed in my rugby career. It took a lot of patience when I got dropped but it taught me to work even harder.”

 

“I returned to the village and set my goals and my priorities.”

“I trained three times a day- early morning, midday and in the evening. It took a lot of hard work and patience.”

“I kept training and set my goals to play at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Cup.”

“I’ve made it by winning gold at the Olympics, silver at the Commonwealth and now the World Cup.”

 

“Nothing is impossible, when the heart is willing and you are willing to work hard.”

Nacuqu said at the moment he is taking an eight-week break for his shoulder injury to heal.

“My plan now is to remain with sevens rugby,” he added.

 

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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