We name our greatest team since the turn of the century
Just how do you name a greatest Fiji Sevens side? With so many quality players, how exactly do you pick who makes the side. Then there’s the problem of who to leave out!
Our selection criteria
Instead of just naming my favourite players I went through the archives and statistics to help me with my selections. As always performance and longetivity are huge factors but also impact, legacy, leadership, consistency and ofcourse achievements.
We considered every tournament
Rugby Sevens World Cups, Commonwealth Games and ofcourse the Olympic Games fall outside the Sevens Series but these are also included in our considerations and rightfully so. Don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below and let us know what your greatest side looks like.
Was there a more beautiful thing in Rugby then Pio Tuwai’s silky skills? The big man truelly was one of a kind and had just as much impact on a game as anyone. His offloading genius, soft passes, pop passes, one hand passes, no-look passes, and all this in a 6’5, 108kg frame! He had it all and it’s little wonder former coach Ben Ryan rates Tuwai as the “best player he’s ever coached”
2. Setefano Cakau
The Namosi Nightmare was as hard as nails and absolutely took no prisoners. The quiet, humble former Fiji Captain led by his actions and had the ability to float between the forwards and the backs. He is top 10 tries scored and matches played and 12th on the all-time pointscorers list for Fiji.
3. Semi Kunatani
At the height of his Sevens career, Semi Kunatani was arguably the best Sevens player in the World. Blessed with the perfect combination of size, athleticism, strength and flair, Kunatani downright dominated teams and was unstoppable at his best. His man of the match performance in the Olympic Final being a perfect example.Embed from Getty Images
4. Samisoni Virivri
Samisoni Viriviri is amongst the most decorated Sevens players of all time. In 2014 he achieved what no other Fijian had done before him by being awarded with the IRB Sevens Player of the Year Award and added an Olympic Gold Medal to his achievements in 2016. He is 4th all-time tries scored for Fiji and is 8th for matches played.
5. Vilimoni Delasau
Any great Sevens side missing this guy has to be questioned. Despite limited appearances, Vilimoni Delasau’s legendary 2000 season demands inclusion. His records for most tries in a match, most tries in a tournament and most tries in a Series has stood for over 20 years! He was poetry in motion and an absolute joy to watch.
6. Waisale Serevi (c)
The King of Sevens virtually picks himself in any Greatest Sevens side. To come back at the age of 36 and lead the National team to it’s second World Cup victory is one of his greatest achievements. The fleet footed, goose-stepping maestro inspired a whole generation and his legacy is inscribed in the DNA of Rugby Sevens today.Embed from Getty Images
7. Jerry Tuwai
If we’re talking about the Greatest Sevens players of all time, then Jerry Tuwai is definitely in the conversation. Certainly the best player of the past decade as rightfully awarded in 2020 and the best player in the world today. The spiritual leader of the Sevens side has consistently been Fiji’s best over the years and will be front and centre in their quest for a second Gold Medal.
For the bench I have gone with who I think were the closest to making the starting side.
8. Osea Kolinisau
Captain courageous Osea Kolinisau led Fiji to it’s most iconic victory, Olympic Gold. He was a leader of men, an inspiration and epitomised everything the Fiji Sevens side was about. He has played in more Sevens Series matches than any other Fijian, is second on the all-point tryscorer list and third for most tries scored.
9. Nasoni Roko
Sitting second on the all-time try scorer list and in the top 10 of just about every attacking category is Naitasiri livewire Nasoni Rokobiau. A graceful, elegant runner of the ball, he was impossible to catch in open space and was just as much of a threat creating for his outside men as he was running the ball.
10. Jasa Veremalua
OK, All Fijians can offload, but there’s a higher level that only a few can operate in. One such player is Jasa Veremalua. Fittingly nicknamed “Jazzman”, his offloads came from a higher place, a place of rythm, harmony and had no boundaries. He sits 3rd on the all time matches for Fiji in the Sevens Series and ofcourse a Gold Medallist.
11. Vatemo Ravouvou
When you’re playing in a team of supreme athletes, it’s easy to be overshadowed. Underrated Nadi trickster Vatemo Ravouvou caused absolute havoc in the middle of the field. His bag of tricks was bottomless and his footwork from another planet, he could step you in a phone booth while dialling the number.
12. Emosi Vucago
Sixth most tries, sixth most points and sixth most matches played in the Sevens Series for Fiji. No it’s not the devil, it’s Emosi Vucago. The deceptive playmaker brought energy to the side and smiles to the faces of all Fijians, including himself.Embed from Getty Images
13. William Ryder
The moment William Ryder stepped onto the field, everyone saw greatness. Fans loved him and opposition players feared him. The Prince of Sevens definitely is Sevens Royalty and probably the most exciting player of all time.
Join in the conversation
That concludes our greatest Sevens side of the last 21 years. Series Champions, Record holders, World Champions and Gold Medallists make up our 13. As always these will create debate mostly on players missing out especially given some of the biggest names missing. So join in the conversation and let us know in the comments below what you thought of our list. Let us know what your greatest side would look like.
Come write for Rakaviti
We’re always on the lookout for aspiring blog and content writers. If you ever wanted to write about our players and teams, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to help.