The sport was introduced to the islands in the 1880s. The national side has competed in the Rugby World Cup and has progressed as far as the quarter finals. Maybe it is best known as the home of the modern 7-a-Side game. They have won the RWC Sevens title twice and the IRB World series once. They are heading for Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Since the early 1960s Fiji players who have joined the British Armed Forces have made a notable impact. In the 1960s Keith Zoing and Tom Waqabaca were prominent with Waqabaca turning professional rugby league for Rochdale Hornets. More recently internationals Alfie Vakacokavanua, Apolosi Satala, Jack Prasad, Semesa Rokoduguni and the 19 year old Emosi Naisaramaki have made outstanding contributions to the UK’s Armed Forces rugby.
The Pacific Club was formed in Suva by a New Zealander in1913 with about 40 members. Cadets and the United Services were then established, The Governor presented the Escott Trophy so it was competition on!
Fiji’s modern success is well renowned—particularly at the Hong Kong Sevens. Maybe ‘professionalism’ and world-wide recruitment from overseas, including Europe, has affected the home game but in Fiji, open any door, and you will find another quality rugby player.
The actual formation date of the RFMF Rugby club is unknown as, in the early days, there was little proper documentation of its history.
Records that do exist show that the Army Rugby team was revived and started playing for the annual Sukuna Bowl trophy challenge against the Fiji Police Rugby team in 1951 in what has now become the pinnacle of Fiji’s domestic rugby calendar.
The Sukuna Bowl challenge was introduced by one of the founding fathers of Fiji to foster good relations between the two security forces. Also it is now considered to be the launching pad for many of Fiji’s rugby players who aspire to wear the Fiji National team colous, which in those days was Black but, as we all know, they now play in White !!.
In the history of the Sukuna Bowl, which is played at the ANZ Stadium, Suva the RFMF Rugby team (now a combined team between the Army and the Navy) has won the trophy 24 times with Police winning 29 times.
The RFMF Rugby Club has also participated in a Pacific Defence competition with Australia and New Zealand in 2002 where it came out as winners beating both teams in a Round Robin format. The Club has also produced several top international referees from ex rugby players such as Charlie Dunn and Paula Tagicakibau.
In its current structure, the RFMF Rugby club consists of six Regular Force Army teams, one Navy Team and one Territorial Force team, each playing in different provincial unions throughout Fiji.
|VESI RARAWA||LOOSEHEAD PROP|
|DANUVE DRETIVERATA||TIGHTHEAD PROP|
|TAMINIASI NAVA||BLINDSIDE FLANKER|
|JIUTA TAKUBU||OPENSIDE FLANKER|
|WATISONI RADINIKUVA||NO. 8|
|SERUKAITOGA CAVUILATI||HALF BACK|
|JOSEVA BASUDRA||FLY HALF|
|LAVANI KURIMUDU||BLINDSIDE WING|
|VILIVE ARIA||INSIDE CENTRE|
|JOSAIA LOTAWA||OUTSIDE CENTRE|
|SEVULONI LUTU||OPENSIDE WING|
|TIKILACI VUIBAU||FULL BACK|
|KALIVATI TAWAKE||TIGHTHEAD PROP|
|VATILIAI. MATAKACA||LOOSE FORWARD|
|MANOA TAMAYA||LOOSE FORWARD|
|SANAILA VITAU||UTILITY BACK|
|OSEA CAWI||UTILITY BACK|
|JAOJI DAKUVULA||FULL BACK|
|PENIJAMINI MAKUTU||TIGHTHEAD PROP|
|KELEMETE KOROIDIMURI||LOOSE FORWARD|
|NEMANI KOROTIAMANA||HALF BACK|
|NEMANI DRUI||FLY HALF|
|SETARKEI KOROILAGILAGI||FLY HALF|
|OSEA NATUVA||ASSISTANT MANAGER|
|ESALA NAUGA||HEAD COACH|
|VUATA NARESIA||ASST. COACH BACKLINE|
|MARK JOB||ASST. COACH SRUMMAGE/LINEOUT|
The Head Coach to the RFMF is Esala Nauga who was born on 6 July 1967. He is undoubtedly one of Fiji’s rugby celebrities having played for the Flying Fijians in the centre. In 2014 he won the coveted award of Fiji National Provincial Coach of the Year.
Esala played for Nadroga Province for over twelve years and represented Fiji for six years. On retirement from playing he spent five years as Assistant Coach to the Nadroga Provincial Team and then assumed the Chief’s reins in 2009. Under his guidance Nadroga won the Fiji Provincial Championship, the Farebrother-Sullivan Cup, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
In 2014 Esala coached the RFMF team that won the prestigious tanoa--the Sakuna Bowl--against a very strong Fiji Police XV and together they will, before flying to England, defend their Sakuna title in September 2015.