Thursday, July 18, 2024
HomeRugbyOne look from selectors took trainee sparkie Rokolisoa to Sevens stardom

One look from selectors took trainee sparkie Rokolisoa to Sevens stardom

Akuila Rokolisoa has little hassle discovering his approach into highlights.

The dazzling All Blacks Sevens playmaker was the main factors scorer within the HSBC World Sevens Collection final season with 415 factors as New Zealand received 5 of 11 tournaments and a 14th total title.

Rokolisoa was nominated for World Rugby Sevens Participant of the 12 months and scored 44 tries, simply three wanting the All Blacks Sevens single-season file held by Karl Te Nana.

The humility of Rokolisoa is putting when requested what his private spotlight was.

“The Sydney Sevens. We received and solely conceded 4 tires. Joe Weber drives the defence and that complete event everybody was into the system. Working onerous for one another is what this workforce is all about,” Rokolisoa informed RugbyPass.

Video Spacer
Video Spacer

Winning five tournaments in a season was New Zealand’s best effort since seven victories in 2001-2002.

What underpins the All Blacks Sevens’ uniquely selfless culture?

“Understanding each other, our unique individual cultures, sharing what we each go through, what motivates us, and fighting for what we love like family,” Rokolisoa responded.

“Our biggest opponent is us. The way we train, what we do at home, the more we do to get better, the tougher we are to play.”

Innate ability helps too. Rokolisoa moved from Fiji to New Zealand in 2005. He attended James Cook High School and was a rugby league player for the Manurewa Marlins. He had little awareness of Sevens but was captivated by the little he saw.

In 2018, while training to become a sparkie, he was invited to play for Counties Manukau at the National Sevens. It was the only look National selectors required.

“It’s a bit surreal looking back. I was contacted by Clark Laidlaw saying I was needed, but I didn’t get a contact.

“I played for the development squad and then I got picked for the Commonwealth Games in Australia where we won the gold medal,” Rokolisoa reflected.

“My first World Series event was in Dubai. I got injured in the warmup. That was a special tournament though because we won it with nine players.

“It’s a huge honour representing New Zealand. There have been so many proud moments.”

Rokolisoa has won the World Series twice and gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup.

He shares much in common with All Blacks Sevens coach Tomasi Cami, the 2012 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.

“Tomasi is pretty similar to me. We share the same culture. He’s taught me to play what’s in front, and how to be a good professional. He’s helped me with analysis and vision on the field.”

The All Blacks Sevens will have to have their wits about them if they are to successfully defend their World Series title.

For the first time since the inception of the competition in 1999, the series will be contested under a new model and name.

The HSBC SVNS features seven regular-season events plus a Grand Final.

The top eight placed teams based on cumulative series points at the conclusion of the seventh round in Singapore will secure their opportunity to compete in the new ‘winner takes all’ Grand Final in Madrid, where the women’s and men’s HSBC SVNS 2024 champions will be crowned.

Argentina was second place last season winning three tournaments.

The Pumas threat looms large. They boast Marcos Moneta (106 tries in 122 games) and World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Rodrigo Isgro.

Fiji, South Africa, and Australia are perennial contenders while Samoa and Ireland are vastly improved. Does Rokolisoa like the new format?

“I don’t know about that one. Maybe I prefer the old format because that’s what I know,” he said.

“It’s a bit niggly but it doesn’t stop us from turning up and doing our job every tournament.”

The All Blacks Sevens have won the Dubai Sevens six times and are grouped with defending champions South Africa, Samoa, and Canada.

Pool A – All Black Sevens Head-to-Head

South Africa: 62-36

Canada: 42-3-1

Samoa 59-21-2




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments