SCRUM Web Editor Gary Heatly catches up with a Fijian rugby great ahead of the Fiji-Scotland match in Suva:
Fijian legend Waisale Serevi has great memories of playing against Scotland – and he cannot wait to watch his country lock horns with Gregor Townsend’s men on Saturday in Suva.
Serevi may be known worldwide for his sevens genius, but he was also a very handy XV-a-side player and earned 38 caps for his country.
The first of those came against Belgium in Liege in October 1989 and the second came a few weeks later against Scotland in Edinburgh.
“I remember very well playing that Test against Scotland in 1989 at Murrayfield,” the 49-year-old recounts.
“We lost [38-17] and played against several famous Scottish rugby players such as Gavin and Scott Hastings, ‘the White Shark’ John Jeffrey , Craig Chalmers, Tony Stanger, David Sole and others.
“I remember Scotland coming home to Fiji in 1998, we were losing and I was on the bench and came on in the second half. Then we managed to beat them [51-26] and that was huge for a small country like Fiji.”
“Looking at the current Scotland squad I can say that 2017 has already been a success for Scotland, and there is still a lot of rugby to play.
“On the sevens side, the Scottish team is always a tough draw for any other nation, proving this by playing two finals in the last two legs of the World Series and of course winning the London Sevens to wrap up the season.
“In 15s they have come together and played well in the 6 Nations and just beat Australia last week – it appears the future looks promising as the Scottish under-20s beat a solid Australian side too.
“The current Fijian team is of course stacked full of amazing individual athletes – perhaps the best in the world – but as a team they must find a fast and proper way to work together and understand each other well both in attack and defence.”
As we have seen this week Scotland have had a great welcome in Fiji and Serevi stated: “As much as the culture of rugby welcomes all, so does the Fijian culture – so the Scots have had an extremely warm welcome in Fiji.
“As Melrose is the birthplace of our beloved game of sevens rugby, Scotland and Scottish people hold a special place in the hearts of all Fijians.
“I believe Scotland are coming in on a high, full of confidence after beating Australia last week. Fiji struggled against Italy and hopefully the boys learned a thing or two to improve their play, but Scotland have been having a great season.
“I think it will be a very tough and exciting game as both teams will be competing hard – Scotland to show their victory over Australia was not by chance and Fiji to bounce back against a strong Scottish side.”
Waisale Serevi is a co-founder of Atavus Rugby – an organisation relentlessly driven to breed character, develop skills and champion rugby in the USA and beyond.
Atavus builds and executes sustained, progression-based programming that provides coaching inclusive of any age, skill set or gender. This includes the USA Rugby Academy Powered by Atavus, customisable “Powered By Atavus” consulting services, coach development resources and the year-round Atavus Academy.
In 2015 Atavus Football was launched to provide modern, effective solutions to coaches at all levels of American football, from youth to the NFL. The company’s proprietary Atavus Tackle System™ provides coaches, parents, athletes and administrators with professional services, data, intelligence and proven coaching solutions.
Pete Carroll from Seattle Seahawks said: “Our friendship with Waisale Serevi and his team is a treasured relationship for us. They’ve certainly helped us a ton in our efforts to improve our tackling and make our style of play better and tougher. We are tackling better than ever because of the things we learned from Wais and his team at Atavus.”
Waisale Serevi is pictured playing at the Melrose Sevens by David Gibson/FOTOSPORT
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