Former Fiji 7s and Rio Olympics Gold medal winning captain Osea Kolinisau said he is honoured and privileged to be inducted into World Rugby’s Hall of Fame, becoming the second Fijian to be recognised by the game’s governing body for his achievement and contribution to the sport of rugby union.
Kolinisau is one of six World Rugby Hall of Fame 2021 inductees including Kenya’s Humphrey Kayange, New Zealand’s Huriana Manuel-Carpenter, Cheryl McAfee from Australia and England and British Irish Lions’ Will Carling and Jim Telfer.
“There are a lot I would like to thank, first of all my Lord and Saviour for without him I am nothing, my parents , my wife and son, my church family who has always been praying for me, FRU (Fiji Rugby) for giving me a chance, the coaches especially the players who I have had the privileged to play with through out my career. I appreciate and love you all,” Kolinisau said via a video shared on FRU’s social media platforms.
As the 149th inductee, Kolinisau joins Gau native and the ‘King of Sevens’ maestro Waisale Serevi who was inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013 as the 77th inductee.
A statement from the World Rugby said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame presented by Tudor recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of rugby throughout their careers, demonstrating rugby’s character-building values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect on and off the field.
“The six inductees excel within two themes selected by the Hall of Fame panel for 2021, rugby sevens and the Olympic Games in a big Olympic year, and the 150th anniversary of the first international match between Scotland and England in March 1871.”
These six inductees will bring the number in the Hall of Fame to 154 since inception in 2006.
Osea Kolinisau (Profile – World Rugby HOF)
Born: 17 November, 1985 in Suva, Fiji
An icon of Fijian rugby, having led the sevens team to Olympic glory in Rio in 2016 as well as back-to-back HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles in 2015 and 2016.
Kolinisau carried Fiji’s flag at the Opening Ceremony in Rio and scored the first of his team’s seven tries in the final as they defeated Great Britain 43-7 to win the gold medal – Fiji’s first ever Olympic medal of any colour. Later that year, he was nominated for the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year award only to miss out to South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla.
The glue that knit the team together, Kolinisau captained Fiji from 2013-17. In addition to being an inspirational leader, Kolinisau was both a dangerous player in his own right and also very durable. He appeared in a record 62 events for Fiji on the World Series and his tally of 1,272 points is only bettered by fellow World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Waisale Serevi.
One of his best performances came in the final of the Hong Kong Sevens in 2013, where he stepped off the bench to score a hat-trick of tries and help Fiji secure a famous comeback win against Wales.
Kolinisau retired from top level sevens in May 2017 before trying his hand at 15s in the USA, initially with Houston Sabercats and then briefly for Old Glory DC.
Photo: World Rugby