Former Fijian sevens coach Ratu Kitione Vesikula Tuibua passed away on New Year's Day according to reports from Suva. Tuibua, who coached Fiji to a hat-trick of titles at the Hong Kong Sevens from 1990 to 1992, was 49. Local fans will remember the larger than life figure of Tuibua, popularly known as Tukiti, who last year coached Fiji to the Cup final at the Hong Kong Sevens. Fiji beat Australia and New Zealand before falling to England in the final. 'Tukiti was a much revered coach who will be missed by the whole rugby community in Fiji,' Fiji Rugby Union chief executive Pio Bosco Tikoisuva said. 'He was able to spot raw talent in the villages around Fiji and nurture such players into international stars.' Players like Waisale Serevi, Tomasi Cama and Paulisai Tabulutu - all of whom have starred at the Hong Kong Sevens - began their careers under Tuibua's tutelage. According to Fijian rugby Web site teivovo.com, Tuibua is credited with inventing the sweeper system in sevens rugby - having six players across the field in a line with a lone fullback to counter the kick-and-chase. Serevi used to play at sweeper with devastating effect for Fiji and the system was quickly adopted worldwide. Tuibua stepped down as national sevens coach before last year's Commonwealth Games. Fiji is currently coached by former speedster Senivalati Laulau.