Top 10 Centres 2010-2019

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Centre is another position where we’ve been blessed with World Class talent. Though most our outside backs can play in dual positions due to their unique skillset, we’ll focus on players who are primarily centres in club and international level.

All our top player lists are judged on performances at both club and representative level regardless of the nation the selected player plays for and includes players who are Fijian Born, identify as Fijian or partly Fijian through ancestry.

This list covers both Rugby League and Union. Sevens players who play centre outside of the Sevens arena have also been considered.

In the first decade since the turn of the century, players like Seru Rabeni, Seremaia Bai, Aisea Tuilevu, Maleli Kunavore and Viliame Satala wore the 12 and 13 jerseys for Fiji.

Since 2010 we’ve had another batch of athletic and highly skilled Rugby and Rugby League players represent our tiny nation. Here’s our list of top 10 centres from the decade 2010-2019.

10. Albert Vulivuli (2010-2019)

Known for his charging runs and stinging defense, Albert Vulivuli has carved out a solid career in French Rugby and representing Fiji whenever called upon. His top level career started in 2009 for the Reds in Super Rugby before moving to France and playing for a host of clubs including Clermont and Racing 92.

Vulivuli represented Fiji on 16 occasions and was a part of the 2011 RWC Squad in New Zealand. The 34 year old currently plays in the French Pro D2 for Vannes.

9. Waqa Blake (NRL 2015-2019)

Making his NRL debut as a 20 year old for the Penrith Panthers, former Perth Pirates junior Waqa Blake has managed 97 first grade games including 9 for the Parramatta Eels in a mid-season switch in 2019.

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Known for his athleticism and shut-down defense, Waqa is rated one of the best centres in the NRL today. He has played only one game for Fiji although injury has usually ruled him out of games, and participated at the World Cup Nines for the Bati. He currently is one piece in an exciting Eels backline that includes Maika Sivo and Michael Jennings.

8. Asaeli Tikoirotuma (2012-2019)

Making his top grade debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2012, Asaeli Tikoirotuma has gone on to play over 50 games in the English Premiership, 45 in Super Rugby and 24 appearances for his homeland.

Known for his evasive running ability and brutal hits. Tikoirotuma was apart of the 2015 RWC Squad and won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs in his debut season. He has been a high-quality performer for Fiji for the better part of the last decade.

Asaeli currently is playing with North Harbour in the Mitre 10 cup after stints with London Irish and Harlequins.

7. Seta Tamanivalu (2015-2019)

Currently plying his trade with Bordeaux in the French Top 14, Seta Tamanivalu is known for his offloading ability and breaking tackles. A graduate from the Taranaki Mitre 10 cup side, Seta made his top grade debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2015 where he would go on to play 22 games before signing for the Crusaders where he would notch up another 33 games.

The Yasawa native made his debut for the All-Blacks in 2016 and would go on to play in another 5 games for the then World Champions. Seta was a part of the 2017 and 2018 Crusaders teams that won the Super Rugby titles, scoring a try in both finals.

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6. Waisea Nayacalevu (2010-2019)

Waisea Nayacalevu first appeared at the Uprising 7s tournament in 2012 after leaving Melbourne. Alongside his brother Avenisi Vesuinubu, they impressed local selectors and were both chosen to represent Fiji Sevens in the 2011-2012 IRB Series. After an outstanding Sevens season, Waisea was selected for the Flying Fijians national side for the Pacific Nations Cup in 2012.

After the PNC, Nayacalevu earned himself a contract with French Top 14 club Stade Francais, where he would play 154 games from 2013 until the end of the decade.

Wise was selected in the Fiji RWC Squads in 2015 and 2019 and can play as a winger or centre. His finest performances were at the 2019 Tokyo World Cup where he was a constant threat for Fiji scoring against the Wallabies and Georgia.

5. Virimi Vakatawa (2011-2019)

French International Virimi Vakatawa takes the number 5 spot on the list. Currently in the prime of his career and coming off a solid World Cup campaign where he showcased brilliant skill and power running for France, proving to be their most damaging back.

Known for his powerful runs and silky skills, Vakatawa has proven to be a quality player at both Sevens and 15’s. He has played over a hundred games for Racing 92 since 2011 and over 21 appearances for France, including the 2019 RWC. He was also the 2018/2019 French 14 Top tryscorer with 13 tries.

4. Samu Kerevi (2014-2019)

Viseisei born Samu Kerevi has developed into one of World Rugby’s most damaging centres since his debut for the Reds in 2014. Known for his powerful running, ball skills and offloading ability.

He was named captain of the QLD Reds in 2019 and vice captain of the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship. His final season before moving to Japan was probably his best as he was runner up in the John Eales medal for best rugby player in Australia, bested only by fellow Fijian Marika Koroibete.

Kerevi has appeared in 76 games for Queensland and 27 for the Wallabies. From 2020 he will run out for Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.

3. Levani Botia (2012-2019)

Levani Botia has been one of Fiji’s favourite sons since his first appearance for the Sevens Team in 2012. The Namosi man also contested the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup for Fiji.

Botia is known for his bollocking runs and fearless attitude boasting an impressive higlights reel that his earned him the nickname “Demolition Man”.

He was named in the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup Squads and has played over 100 games for La Rochelle usually at centre, flanker or wing.

Honourable Mentions

Before we finish off our list of top 10 centres for the decade 2010-2019, we would like mention a few players who were also considered; Jale Vatubua, Apisai Naqalevu, Wes Naiqama, Gabiriele Lovobalavu, Seru Rabeni, Sevanaia Galala, Daryl Millard, Ravai Fatiaki and Napolioni Nalaga.

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2. Vereniki Goneva (2010-2019)

The evergreen Niki Goneva has built an impressive portfolio and even at the age of 35, is still a class back playing at the highest club level. Gifted with power, balance and vision, Goneva has become a household name in the UK and France.

Goneva’s career stretches as far back as 2007 and is the last remaining current squad member from that era. He has over 57 caps for Fiji and has scored the most tries for Fiji of any player. He has won a English Premiership title with London Welsh in 2012/2013 and was named the Aviva Premiership player of the year in 2017-2018, at the age of 32.

Vereniki played in all three Rugby World Cups from 2011-2019 and has signed on with Harlequins FC in 2020 alongside Semi Kunatani and Tevita Cavubati.

1.Tevita Kuridrani (2010-2019)

Ratu Tevita Kuridrani tops our list at number 1 due to his longevity and consistency. He has played over 60 games for the Wallabies including the RWC Final in 2015 where he scored a try and over 73 games for the Brumbies since 2012.

He is another in an impressive line of players from the humble village of Namatakula, a list that includes his uncle Noa Nadruka and cousin Nemani Nadolo amongst others.

Tevita represented Fiji at under 20 level in 2010 before joining the Australian Sevens Team in 2011. His debut in Super Rugby came in 2012 and he’s held his position for the remainder of the decade.

Known for his shut-down defense and overall reliability, Kuridrani is a staple in the Wallabies backline. He also played in the 2013 Super Rugby final which the Brumbies lost.

Tell us what you think

That rounds up our top 10 list for Fijian centres. Tell us what you think of our list, have we missed anyone? Or what would your list look like? Join in the conversation in the comments below.

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