This is the 2nd King's Corner column from 7s legend Waisale Serevi.
Greetings fellow rugby fans!
Thank you for your kind words after my first King’s Corner column. I am honored to have this opportunity to share my passion for and experience in the game of rugby.
Several of you wrote in to ask about teamwork, my favorite teams, and what made those teams special. As I reflect on my 21-year international career, two teams jump out as favorites – the 1990 Fiji team that began a run of consecutive Hong Kong Sevens wins and Fiji’s 2005 World Cup championship team. These were two very different teams that won in totally opposite manners.
Waisale Serevi is widely considered to be the greatest 7s player of all time. Playing for Fiji, Serevi helped launch and popularize the IRB Sevens World Series, and led Fiji to 7s World Cup titles in 1997 and 2005.
Co-founder of Serevi Rugby in Seattle, Wash., The King has turned his attention to giving back to the game that has given him so much, leading camps and clinics, coaching programs and merchandise efforts. For more information seewww.serevirugby.com.
I was 22 and at the front end of my international career when we went to Hong Kong to compete for the 1990 Melrose Cup. Most of the boys were young and we had a terrific blend of speed, power and skills. That said, we were short on experience. For that reason, in the six-month Sevens season leading up to the March tournament in Hong Kong, our squad trained three times a day and played every local tournament we could. It was on the strength of this preparation that we took home the 1990 Melrose Cup. Fit and prepared!
The 2005 team was totally different. Most members of that squad were off in Europe playing XVs rugby in the lead up to Hong Kong. We were thrown together with a mere two weeks to prepare. Our collective fitness level was down on account of having played XVs so we had to find another way to win. Fortunately, most members of that team had played together at various points over the previous decade. We were a cagey bunch and knew each other’s tendencies and we knew how to win. That experience ultimately helped us cinch the World Cup with a 29-19 win over New Zealand. We played smart. While we may not have been in top overall condition, our experience – both on and off the pitch – allowed us to prevail.
People often ask me what makes teams great. It is almost as if they hope there is an easy answer. At the core, however, good teams are formed on the grass and sand lots of nations around the world as kids play the game informally. I am a big believer in the formative nature of touch rugby and am fortunate to have grown up in a rugby culture that encouraged me and my friends to play as much touch rugby as possible. Touch rugby taught us vision, confidence and decision making.
When we came together as young adults, we took those early lessons to new levels with lots of 3-on-2 drills to further hone decision making. We played as many tournaments as we could, and we devoted as much time to bonding off the pitch as we did to performing on it. Bonds formed off the field made it easier to trust each other and respect each other’s strengths on it.
This is the model I am looking to replicate in North America with my colleagues from Serevi Rugby. I want to introduce as many children as possible to touch rugby. I want more experienced players and teams to have ample opportunity to test and refine their skills in frequent tournament settings. I want to set and maintain a consistent baseline of high-end performance.
Our summer youth series and our Serevi Rugby Academy in Seattle have set that plan in motion. We’re off to a good start and will soon be looking to extend the model to other geographies. Look for programming from Serevi Rugby in a neighborhood near you shortly.
In subsequent columns, I will begin to narrow the focus to cover topics such as the qualities I look for in a great forward, my take on the selection process, the primary things a team can do to recover from a tough loss, and the one player who most influenced my style of play and why. Please continue to send me your topic requests at
or drop a comment on my Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/serevirugby.
Also, when you have a moment, watch this video of the try often referred to as the “best 7’s try ever”. It happened in the very 1990 tournament I describe. Though this footage was shot before high-definition, you may still recognize me making an over-the-head pass to get things rolling. That is followed by a sweet under the legs toss to streaking speedster Tomasi Cama who scored the try. Both of these passes were possible only because we had practiced so much together. We knew relative positioning and tendencies. Our deep practice set us up for something special. I am working to bring deep practice to North America.
God bless. Until next time…