Fijian standout Vuruna makes first appearance a tribute to supportive mum

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am


Isikeli Tuiwainunu Vurun has brought a lot of history with him as he makes his debut for the storied Fijian outfit.

There are the memories of the stars of his national side who have lit up the event over the years, but more poignant is the memory of his mother who passed away 12 years ago and left Vuruna with the wish that he might one day grace the grass at what was her favourite event.

And the 24-year-old has been one of the finds of the tournament with his pace and guile, scoring twice in Fiji's 39-5 win over Scotland on Friday before adding another to his tally in their 26-12 win over France yesterday.

'This is a very special time for me and a moment to cherish,' said Vuruna. 'My mother always wanted me to play here and now I am here. It's just means a lot and I want to do her memory proud.'

He should be in no doubt that he is doing just that. Varuna was rested for Fiji's final clash of the day - a 22-5 win over Australia - as coach Alifereti Dere hedged his bets before the business end of the tournament. The coach hopes to end a three-year championship drought for the team.

There's also the little matter of the world series to attend to with the Fijians entering the tournament in second spot, just five points behind England. First up today will be Argentina in the quarter-finals and Varuna is raring to go.

He said he had never missed watching on as his countrymen forged their legend in Hong Kong. While working his way through the Fijian junior ranks he always believed appearing at the tournament was his goal - if not his destiny.

'It's an awesome feeling playing in Hong Kong,' he said. 'From the moment I've come here I have felt the pressure as it's the first time I have represented Fiji. All the pressure is on me and I have never experienced crowds like I have here, but I am ready.

'I feel good. I feel strong and I like to thank God for letting me represent my country and do my country proud. Fiji has in the past done great here and I'd like to thank Fiji players from the past for what they have done and for inspiring us. It is something we all want to live up to.'