Top 6 lock forwards from 2010-2019

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Fiji are never short of the tall-timber. Our big, rangy men blessed with athleticism and grand offloading ability. In the early 2000’s the likes of Ifireimi Rawaqa, Api Naevo, Kele Leawere, Emori Katalau and Isoa Domolailai were just some of the names that played in the 4 and 5 jerseys for the Fiji 15’s side.

All our top player lists include players who are Fijian Born, identity as Fijian or partly Fijian through heritage. It includes performances for both club and country regardless of what nation they represented.

As always there were numerous players that played lock for Fiji from 2010-2019 so we’ve listed our top 6 from that time period. We’ve also included the lineout jumpers from the Sevens squads in our list.

6. Wame Lewaravu (2010-2016)

Former Highlanders lock started his career in 2005, making his international debut in 2007 for Fiji. He gained selection in the 2011 World Cup squad and played 26 matches in total for Fiji. Known for his physicality and lineout ability, the underrated Lewaravu played on until 2016 in the UK and France.

5. Tevita Cavubati (2011-2019)

Tevita “Tex” Cavubati started his club career with the Tasman Makos in New Zealand and now plays for Harlequins via Worcester, Ospreys and Newcastle in the UK.

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Cavubati intimidates his opponents with brutality and physicality and is a leader in the Fiji pack. He earned selection in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and was the starting lock alongside Leone Nakarawa in Tokyo 2019. Has over 26 caps for Fiji since 2011.

4. Api Ratuniyarawa (2012-2019)

Api Ratuniyarawa has been quietly going about his business acquiring over 31 caps for Fiji since 2012. The Nadroga native is known for his hard running and offloading, his ability in the lineout and solid defense.

He has been a reliable forward for Fiji whether starting or coming off the bench. Earned selection in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups for the John McKee coached sides. Ratuniyarawa currently plays Premiership Rugby for Northampton alongside Sam Matavesi and Taqele Naiyarovoro. Before his move to Northampton in 2016 he played 2 seasons with Agen in France making 50 appearences and scoring 5 tries.

3. Pio Tuwai (Sevens 2010-2016)

It would be criminal not to include Pio Tuwai in this list as even though he played sevens exclusively, his size and skillset is predominantly that of a lock forward. He also had the jumping duties in the lineout for the Sevens team.

One time captain Pio, the elder brother of Josua Tuisova and Filipo Nakosi, is known for his unique playing style and unbelievable offloading ability. Pio was rated by coach Ben Ryan as the best player he’s ever coached.

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In unfortunate circumstances following cyclone Winston, Tuwai missed a place in the Rio Olympics squad that left every Fijian disappointed for the big man as he was one of the most influential figures and best players leading into the tournament.

Notwithstanding, Pio won two Sevens series titles with Fiji from 2014-2016 and will go down as a Fiji Sevens legend.

2. Radike Samo (2010-2017)

The evergreen Radike Samo started his career in the year 2000 for the ACT Brumbies and would go on to win the 2001 and 2003 Super Rugby Titles. Known for his top speed often matching it with outside backs and even playing on the wing for Australia at times, and his silky skills to match his brutal defense.

Post 2010 Samo won the title again this time with the Queensland Reds and also earning a place for the Wallabies at the 2011 World Cup. Samo would again represent the Wallabies in the 2012 Rugby Championship and was awarded the IRB try of the year in 2011 against the All-Blacks. Impressive given he was the oldest man to ever play for the Wallabies at the time.

Radike continued his club career for the Reds until 2013 before making a comeback for the Rebels in 2015 and QLD country in the NRC in 2016 before his swansong with Brisbane City in 2017 before retiring.

Honourable Mentions

Before we finish off our list we’d like to mention a few players who were also considered; Sekonaia, Kalou, Albert Tuisue, Jone Qovu, Sikeli Nabou, Meli Derenalagi, Pio Gus Sowakula, Apisai Domolailai, Isoa Damudamu, Tevita Ratuva and Isaia Walker-Leawere.

1.Leone Nakarawa (2010-2019)

The Offloading King Leone Nakarawa is probably Fiji’s biggest name on the forward front in World Rugby today. Known for an offloading ability that’s out of this world and a skillset that’s not seen from a man with his size let alone a lock forward.

The Fiji vice captain has played in all three World Cups the past decade and was a part of the trailblazing Rio Gold Medal sevens team that beat Great-Britain.

In 2016 Leone was awarded the Officer of the Order in Fiji. Named in the team of the RWC in 2015 and in 2018 he was awarded the European professional Rugby player of the year award.

After the 2019 World Cup, the Nakarawa returned to former side Glasgow, the club where he was named man of the match in the Pro-12 2014/2015 final.

Join in the conversation

That’s our list for the top 6 Fijian locks from the 2010-2019 decade. Join in the conversation and tell us who you would have in your list in the comments below.

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