Saturday 5 May 2007

Waisale Serevi

Serevi may not be a huge name in the 15 a-side rugby world but for anyone who has ever seen Fiji dance their way around opposition in sevens this man is god. Now 39, the eternally young Serevi is still a regular on the IRB circuit lending his vast wealth of experience to the younger players in the team and producing moments of magic (as above, semi-final '07, NZ are down by a score) seemingly whenever he pleases.

He began playing rugby in 1977, after Fiji managed to topple the touring British and Irish Lions. Serevi never saw the game but was motivated to take up the sport when he saw how much happiness the victory over the tourists had brought to Fiji. His dedication to rugby led to him failing and eventually dropping out of school without ever graduating from secondary education. Labelled as being too small for rugby, Serevi spent a lot of his younger years on the bench. After being selected for his provincial team at the age of 17 his star began to rise inexorably.

In the next couple of years, he would explode onto the rugby world. Under his leadership his club Nabua dominated the Fijian rugby league and by 1987 Serevi was a regular on the Fijian national side. He played sporadically for the full XV over the years but has dominated the sevens tournaments at the helm of the Fijian national side for years. Serevi retired from professional rugby in 2005 and is now a player-coach for the sevens team. He still plays, gradually edging himself out of the team in place of a new young sevens genius, William Ryder. Notably Ryder is almost always referred to as a mini-Serevi, testament to the 39 year-olds ability that his star still shines brighter than the young pretenders.

To this day Serevi is still one of the most recognisable figures in world rugby, the maestro of Fijian rugby has cemented his reputation as one of the most electrifying players the world has ever seen

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