Fiji maestro Serevi joins greats in Hall of Fame
The "King of Sevens", Waisale Serevi, was finally crowned at Hong Kong Stadium last night, becoming the first Fijian sevens player inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.
Receiving his award on the main pitch to a roaring crowd in the minutes before Fiji inflicted a 26-5 defeat of Canada, the impassioned Fijian was visibly overwhelmed.
"I shed a tear, of course. Looking around me and seeing my wife and my kids who have been supporting me throughout my career, it was overwhelming."
Before leaving the field, the 44-year-old received a standing ovation from Fijian fans who waved their flags and chanted the legend's name.
The theme of this year's induction was "Rugby - a global game"; fitting for the Fijian who now resides in the United States running youth rugby training and development camps for the game, the "fastest growing sport in the country", according to Serevi.
Serevi, who led Fiji in three straight Hong Kong Sevens titles from 1990 to 1992 and two World Cups in 1997 and 2005, felt Hong Kong was a fitting venue to receive the honour.
"No Hong Kong; no Waisale Serevi," he said. "This is where I started. In 1989 I came here as a young guy and when I went home I forgot about Christmas and New Year for the next 20 years because I was training.
"My goal was always to come to the Hong Kong Sevens the next year."
However, the honour also marked the closing of a chapter.
"I think this is the last time I get to step on to [the Hong Kong field]," he said wistfully.
But, if you ask Serevi, there will be more legends like him as the sevens game - now an Olympic sport - goes from strength to strength.
"Yes, I believe so," he said. "There are already a lot I can see.