New kid on the block

Fiji;s Josefa Talacolo heads for the tryline against Kenya during the HSBC Emirates Dubai Sevens. Picture: SUPPLIED

Dubai will always hold a lot of memories for a lot of Fijian 7s players because this is where most began their journey to rugby stardom.

Former Fiji 7s captain and Olympic Games gold medallist Osea Kolinisau, who is part of the Life After Rugby and also playing 7s rugby at the International Invitational in Dubai said the place held a lot of memories.

“A lot of us started out playing on the series in Dubai and it holds a lot of memories for us,” Kolinisau told The National News.

“When we go to a tournament, our only intention is always to win it. Not to participate, but show the world what Fijian rugby is all about.”

For the Fiji 7s team, new man-mountain in the series Joseva Talacolo’s performance in Dubai will go in the history book of 7s with his outstanding all-rounder skills that captured the imagination of commentators in the past two weeks.

The Dubai 7s has unearthed the starting point for Talacolo’s rise and someone to look out for in the future.

Kolinisau said Fijian players would live and die by the sword, by “our offloads” and the sentiments ringed true for the Police 7s player who is leading the offloading statistics in the series with nine ahead of Martin Iosefo of USA, who recorded eight after the first round last week.

That is a lot to cherish for Talacolo after making his appearance in Dubai.

In the DHL performance tracker last week, the Naqarawai, Namosi tall timber is in second place with 59 points including 19 tackles, three breaks, nine offloads and 22 carries.

The “Jack of all trade” in the new-look 7s set up has a number of skills that make him stands out — he is the go-to man in the restarts and line-outs, his aerial ball skills is phenomenal and the way he hold the ball with one hand surprise many rugby followeres.

Talacolo can be compared with Semi Kunatani when he started his 7s game or Jasa Veremalua with his offloads and brutal defensive play.

The travelling reserve player for the Fijian men’s rugby 7s team to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan plays to his own style and pace.

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