Magnificent Seven: Waisale Serevi
Waisale Serevi, perhaps the most influential player in the history of sevens, has been announced as the sixth player inducted into the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s ‘The Hong Kong Magnificent Seven’.
Widely considered the world’s greatest-ever sevens player, Serevi was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013 on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Sevens, where he made his international rugby name. He is the first Fijian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and the first of his countrymen inducted into ‘The Hong Kong Magnificent Seven’.
Serevi, ‘the little magician’, made his Hong Kong debut in 1989, winning player of the tournament honours on debut, and would return on an astonishing 15 further occasions (1990-2000, 2002 and from 2005-07 as player/coach).
Serevi was a part of five cup-winning teams and reached the final on a further seven occasions, massively contributing to Fiji’s record 14 victories in Hong Kong. He was also instrumental in both of Fiji’s Rugby World Cup Sevens wins in Hong Kong in 1997 and 2005.
Uniquely, he has been named the best and fairest player of the Hong Kong Sevens on three occasions (1989, 1990 and 1998) and was also the player of the tournament at both the 1997 and 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.
Serevi spearheaded two periods of remarkably sustained success for Fiji including three consecutive wins from 1990 to 1992 and from 1997 (Rugby World Cup Sevens) to 1999, making Fiji the only nation to have twice accomplished a three-peat in Hong Kong. New Zealand won from 1994 to 1996 and England won from 2002 to 2004.
Serevi also led Fiji to two silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and 2002 and captured bronze in 2006. In 2005 he was appointed the Fiji Sevens coach, leading the team to the 2005/06 HSBC Sevens World Series title – the first occasion since the series’ inception in 2000 that the circuit was won by a team other than New Zealand.
In fifteen-a-side, Serevi played 39 times for Fiji in a career that ran from 1989 to 2003, scoring a total of 376 points. In 2002 Serevi topped 1,000 points all-time in Hong Kong.
He returned to lead Fiji to victory once again in Hong Kong at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2005, cementing his position in history by finishing as the Rugby World Cup Sevens’ all-time leading points scorer and goal scorer, and the second highest all-time try scorer.