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Fiji veteran could miss triple Olympic gold bid after being axed

By Chris Jones
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jerry Tuwai of Fiji celebrate after scoring a try during day 2 of the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 Championship Quarter Finals match 27 between Samoa and Fiji at DHL Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Double Olympic Games gold medallist Jerry Tuwai has been left out of the Fiji sevens squad for the opening rounds of the 2023-2024 HSBC SVNS Series in Dubai and Cape Town.

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Head coach Ben Gollings did not include 34-year-old Tuwai who, according to local media reports, has been concentrating on coaching and interests outside of rugby.

Fiji will attempt a remarkable third successive gold medal when they appear in the Paris Olympic competition but it seems Tuwai will not be a key figure in that campaign.

Fiji Rugby Union interim Trustees chairman, Peter Mazey has said that Tuwai was helping out with the Fijiana women’s 7s team for the Oceania Rugby Sevens and the veteran halfback has also been actively involved with his boxing promotions. He was recently announced the ambassador of one the country’s leading hardware companies.

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Gollings has opted for the experience of Terio Tamani, Joseva Talacolo and Sevuloni Mocenacagi while Ilikimi Vunaki, Netava Koroisau and Rubeni Kabu have forced their way into the national 7s squad.

There is also a place for Kaminieli Rasaku who won a gold medal at the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town and joins the team after ending his contract with his French club Bayonne earlier this year.

Fiji is pooled with Great Britain, France and USA at the Dubai 7s which starts on Saturday.

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Fijiana 7s coach Saiasi Fuli has named a strong team for the opening leg of the 2023-2024 SVNS Series. Fuli has picked up the experience of Ana Naimasi, Aloesi Nakoci, Raijeli Daveua, Vani Buleki, Younis Bese, Maria Rokotuisiga and Reapi Uluinasau. Joining them will be Talei Wilson, Laisani Moceisawana, Lavenia Cavuru, Viniana Riwai, Ilisapeci Delaiwau and Mereani Rogosau.

The Fijiana side is grouped in Pool A with New Zealand, Great Britain and South Africa.

Fiji men’s squad:

Josese Batirerega, Ilikimi Vunaki, Kaminieli Rasaku, Jeremaia Matana, Filipe Sauturaga, Netava Koroisau, Rubeni Kabu, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Vuiviwa Naduvalo, Joseva Talacolo, Manueli Maisamoa, Pilipo Bukayaro, Terio Veilawa

Fijiana squad:

Reijeli Daveua, Vani Buleki, Aloesi Nakoci, Laisani Moceisawana, Talei Wilson, Reapi Ulunisau, Lavena Cavuru, Viniana Riwai, Ana Maria Naimasi, Maria Rokotuisiga, Younis Bese, Ilisapeci Delaiwau, Mereani Rogosau.

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Eabn 7 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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