Deciding the top 10 Fijian wingers in any point in time is virtually an impossible task, let alone comparing their performances over a whole 10 years
If we go back a decade we’re talking about a list that includes players like Vilimoni Delasau, Marika Vunibaka and Rupeni Caucaunibuca. While Rupeni will top many of peoples lists, Delasau was arguably just as influential in Fiji’s performances, especially at the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.
The even tougher question is, who do we leave out? The level of quality and ability is endless so narrowing it down to 10 seems almost unfair. That being said with all the other positions being covered and as difficult as it may be, we had to finish with our most anticipated list. Top 10 Fijian wingers of the decade 2010-2019.
As always, all players considered are either Fijian born or partly Fijian through ancestry, regardless of their respective representative nations.Embed from Getty Images
10. Lote Tuqiri (2010-2014)
Any wingers list that has Namatakula superstar Lote Tuqiri at 10 is bound to be a talented list. The former NRL superstar, former Bati skipper, former Kangaroo and former Wallaby, was one in another group of gifted Fijian wingers who lit up Rugby fields in the early 2000’s.
His second stint in the NRL after leaving the Wallabies and Rugby Union, he managed 52 games for the Wests Tigers, 16 for the Rabbitohs including the 2014 premiership and a return to the Kangaroos before his final game for the Fiji Bati in 2014. Tuqiri also had a short term stint with Leinster in the Pro 12 in 2013.
9. Sireli Bobo (2010-2019)
While Bobo’s most memorable moments were arguably before the turn of the decade, his achievements and longevity post 2009 can’t be ignored. The evergreen speed machine played the entire decade and as of 2019 had a professional playing contract with Rapid Rugby side Asia Pacific Dragons, at the age of 43!
Bobo retired from Rugby in 2014 before being recalled in 2015 for Toulon in the French Top 14. For the remainder of the decade he played his club rugby in Japan. Sireli is the oldest player to ever represent Fiji (38 years and 137 days).
8. Joe Rokocoko (2010-2019)
Like Sireli Bobo, Joe Rokocoko’s biggest achievements were prior to the 10 year period this list is based on but his professionalism and quality as a finisher afforded him a lengthy and decorated career which included 69 caps for the All-Blacks from 2003-2010. Smoking Joe’s international career with New Zealand ended with him as their equal second highest tryscorer with 46.
After leaving the Auckland Blues in 2011, he played the remainder of the decade in France for Bayonne from 2012-2015, and Racing Metro from 2015-2019.
Rokocoko announced his retirement at the end of the 2018/2019 season.
7. Suliasi Vunivalu (2016-2019)
Bursting onto the NRL scene in 2016 and gaining superstar status almost immediately was Storm tryscoring sensation Suliasi Vunivalu.
The former Lelean Memorial student was the NRL top tryscorer in his first two seasons, scoring 46 tries, splitting 2016 and 2017 with 23 each. He represented the Bati at the 2017 RLWC and was nominated for the Golden Boot award after the tournament. Vunivalu was also a part of the 2017 premiership winning Melbourne Storm team.
6. Marika Koroibete (2012-2019)
Former Fiji Bati and current Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete comes in at 6 on our list. First as a Rugby League player for the Wests Tigers and Melbourne Storm, boasting an impressive highlights package of elite speed and brutal hits. He played 7 games for the Bati including the 2013 RLWC.
His time in Rugby Union has seen the Namosi speedster gain similar status again as one of the best wingers in the game. His performances for Australia, especially in 2019 earned him a starting Wallabies jersey, a World Cup birth and the John Eales Medallist as best player in Australia.
5. Akuila Uate (2010-2019)
Kicking off our top 5 is former Newcastle and Bati excitement machine Akuila “The Thriller” Uate. His decade started with 3 straight Dally M Winger awards from 2010-2012 for best winger in the NRL. His rise to the top included 5 games for NSW Blues and 5 games for the Kangaroos.
Uate later declared allegiance to Fiji for the 2013 RLWC where he was a standout and again at the 2017 RLWC in which he put in a series of 5 star performances for the Bati.
Akuila signed on with UK club Huddersfield for the 2019 season but is honoured with the most tries in the NRL from 2010-2019.
4. Waisake Naholo (2013-2019)
London Irish and former Highlander and All-Black Waisake Naholo could claim to be the best Fijian winger this decade as can the following three players, such is the talent on this list. The 2015 Super Rugby top try-scorer and 2014 title winner (Highlanders) is still considered one of the most damaging backs in World Rugby.
Waisake lit up the Super Rugby competition with impressive long range tries showcasing his speed and power running on top of his all round game breaking capabilities.
The Nadroga native has 27 All-Blacks caps and 20 tries to his name from 2015-2018. He also was a part of the RWC 2015 winning New Zealand squad.Embed from Getty Images
Before we get to the top 3, we’d like to mention some of the players who all had a strong case for this list: Sitiveni Sivivatu, Timoci Nagusa, Sefa Naivalu, Alivereti Raka, Semesa Rokoduguni, Michael Tagicakibau, Vilimoni Delasau, Henry Speight, Benito Masilevu, Alipate Ratini, Apisai Naikatini, Samisoni Viriviri, Sisa Waqa, Patrick Osbourne, Sevu Reece, Maika Sivo, Joe Cokanasiga and Taqele Naiyarovoro.Embed from Getty Images
3. Nemani Nadolo (2010-2019)
A name that constantly pops up in teams of the decade is second Namatakula villager to make our list, former Crusaders superstar Nemani Nadolo. At the height of his powers Nadolo was the most damaging back in Super Rugby boasting an impressive arsenal of size, speed and skill.
On top of scoring tries Nemani also was a capable goal kicker.
While he didn’t amass the achievements of some of the players ranked lower on this list, Nadolo’s quality performances for Fiji against top opposition cannot be denied. He caused havoc with the ball in hand and was a leader for the Flying Fijians.
In 2014 he topped Super Rugby tries scored along with Israel Folau and in 2015 he earned selection at the 2015 RLWC. Nemani opted to retire from International Rugby prior to the 2019 RWC to give younger players an opportunity to represent Fiji.Embed from Getty Images
2. Josua Tuisova (2013-2019)
Flying Fijians juggernaut Josua Tuisova is runner up on our list after an outstanding 5 years at the top of his game. Widely considered as one of the best backs in World Rugby and one of the most powerful players, period.
He has wowed fans with his incredible ability to truck tacklers and carry defenders with him. To his name he has 3 championships including the 2013/2014 Top 14, 2013/2014 Heineken Cup and the 2014/2015 European Rugby Champions Cup.
He earned his place for the Flying Fijians at the 2019 RWC where he scored a memorable try against Wales. Another big achievement this decade for “The Bus” was his Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics 2016. Tuisova is a key part of the Flying Fijians backline going foward.
1.Semi Radradra (2013-2019)
Semi “Trailer” Radradra is the one player on this list who can claim to be the best winger in the game for both codes. An impressive strike rate of 82 tries in 94 games for the Eels from 2013-2017, many of which were long range solo efforts. His achievements in the NRL include being awarded the Dally M winger of the year in both 2014 and 2015 and NRL top tryscorer in 2015.
He converted to the 15 man game after the 2017 NRL season and quickly stamped his name as a superstar of the code after impressive performances for Toulon and on the international scene for Fiji.
Fans and Rugby experts worldwide marvelled at his performances against Georgia and Wales at the 2019 RWC scoring and setting up tries.
He ends the decade as the best winger in Rugby and one of the best Rugby League wingers from 2010-2019.
Join in the conversation
That concludes our list for top 10 Fijian wingers the past decade. We’re sure it will cause a bit of controversy and rightfully so but if you think someone else deserved to be on this list, please join in the conversation and leave a comment below.