Harlequins Jersey. Sale is 3rd from the right.
Global Comp, Governance & Growth
From left to right Chairman Commander Francis Kean, Bill Beaumont, Sale Sorovaki & Brian Thorburn
Harlequins team unpack new jerseys from sponsors Pacific Agencies
How are things going with Covid-19 for Fiji rugby?
Very similar to New Zealand. We are coming out the other side of lock-down and are looking forward to resuming rugby soon. Training has been tricky for most teams with the restrictions. The weekend of the 25th should be the start of the competition. We begin our Provincial Competition this weekend and its full on for the next 14 weeks.
Tell us about where you came from to join OBU?
I was studying at Massey in Palmerston North and playing rugby there. We had an away match against Harlequins (OBU’s immediate predecessor). We won that game and had a great bus trip home.
I moved to Wellington in ‘93 and Bill Cavubati lined me up for Harlequins straight away (Bill can still be found on the door of the Bristol Hotel today)!
The team was coached by Hamish and Bert Vance. I played until 1996 then took up a contract in Japan. I remember lots of the people from those days well!
Did you play rep rugby in New Zealand?
Yes I did, I played for Wellington first then Manawatu. And Fiji of course, even when I was based in Japan I still made it back for the Fiji matches.
What’s your favourite on-field memory?
Perhaps not favourite, but definitely memorable was my first game back from a broken wrist (in the Massey fixture) on the basin reserve. I got concussed and got the shakes just like the famous clip of Dean Lonergan!
A more positive memory was of the brandy after the game in the changing sheds. I didn’t like it at all but it kept me warm! Oh and like Chris Te’o stealing Tom Bamber’s smokes! He used to complain about it all the time but still let us have them, haha!
What is your favourite off-field memory?
We used to train at the Basin and Boyd Wilson. I remember a practice where there was this little guy turned up and streaked ahead of us. We were thinking who is this showoff? It turned out to be Jon Preston coming to play for us from Christchurch and was already an All Black. We were more than happy for him to showoff from there!
I also used to run to training everyday and then grab a lift home after training from some of the boys that had a car. It was my way of keeping fit as well, and running up to the ground everyday for 4 years must have done me a whole lot of good.
Are you involved in rugby these days? Tell us about it..
Yes I’m coaching at the University of South Pacific.
We also have a club called Harlequins named after Wellington Harlequins and we have a Harlequins song.
We play in the premier grade which means we are in the top 14 of 42 clubs in Suva. We are currently sitting mid table and hope to push back toward the top.
I have been National Operations Manager for the Fiji Rugby Union. I was Rugby Development Manager for 9 years before that.
What’s life like after Harlequins? Where are you these days? Work, family.
I left for Japan from Wellington in ’96. I spent 4 years in Japan where we got married and then moved back to Fiji. I first worked for Colonial insurance for a couple of years helping the 3000 Fijian soldiers serving in the British army.
We’re now settled in Suva. I have 4 kids, the eldest plays over there for OBU Colts! I am very proud that my son is playing for the same club in the same position as I did 27 years ago!
Any messages of inspiration you want to pass back to the Goat community?
Cherish these times when you are playing and the friends you make. As these remain with you forever. Surround yourself with good people.
Later on in life you will sit back and reflect with great pleasure.
Perhaps this might be a good opportunity for us to arrange a video of ‘We are OBU’ and share it with the Fiji Harlequins and maybe they could sing their song back!
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