November 17, 2012
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Former Flying Fijian Kunavore dies

By Sunil Sharma 

Former Flying Fijians crack centre Maleli Kunavore died in France yesterday after a cardiac arrest.

The 29-year-old France based former Toulouse player was rushed off to hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The Nadroga native suffered two major injuries to his left arm in 2010 and underwent a cardiac operation. He left Toulouse and retired from rugby soon after.

Kunavore was spotted by Fiji coach Wayne Pivac playing in the Colonial Cup for the Coastal Stallions which impressed Pivac and he was called up for the national duties.

He was then selected in the national team for the Pacific Nations Cup and after the game against Japan, he and a few other players were caught in a brawl and were suspended from playing any games in and for Fiji until 31 December 2006.

A product of the Nadi Muslim Academy, Kunavore began to shine when he represented the Fiji U21 side in 2004.
A year later the solid speedster was the top try scorer for the Stallions in the Colonial Cup.

He improved with every match and scored one try and two conversions to help his province Nadroga win Provincial Cup in 2005.

He then earned his first Test cap and also scored a try to help Fiji defeat Samoa 21-15 in Suva.

After the Samoa win, Kunavore continued his fine form and went on to win six more caps for the Fiji side.

In mid-2005 he left Fiji's shores for a position at Toulouse in France and won 80 caps until 2010.

His last appearance in the Fiji colours was at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

FijiLive


 

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