March 12, 2021
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Judo teaches defence in rugby: Kuruvoli

Flying Fijian and Fijian Warriors scrum-half Simione Kuruvoli says Judo plays a vital role in helping improve defence and attacking skills.   

Kuruvoli made this comment during the Fiji Rugby Elite Player Pathway Academy’s rugby players joined for a basic Judo session earlier this week.

The payers gained basic skills which can help them improve certain areas as rugby players.

He said Judo has a lot of similarities with rugby in terms of values, ethics, and ways of taking down an opponent or skills that are acquired in the rugby field during defence and attacks in contact sports like rugby.

“Something that we’ve learnt from judo class is when you tackle your opponent or being tackled and how to keep your head safe from hitting the ground.”

“Head injury has been an on-going issue that has led to some serious injuries and affecting the lives of the players and their livelihood and that is why it is important to be mindful when you tackle an opponent,” Kuruvoli said.

The 22-year-old has been part of the Judo program ever since the age of five and he now understands how Judo can really help him in rugby.

“In defence, judo teaches you how to take down an opponent despite their size and the weight just by using their momentum and strength.”

“Also there are some warm-up stretches that are used in Judo that take rugby players by surprise and we are grateful for being part of the program,” he added.

With the guidance of HPU coaches including EPP Manager and former Flying Fijians Bill Gadolo, Kele Leawere, and Ifereimi Rawaqa we were fortunate to meet with the players from other regions and train for a week in Suva.

The journey just started for him and made his debut for the Flying Fijians against Georgia during the Autumn Nations Cup in France.

He was part of the Fijian side in 2019 when they defeated the Barbarians in England.

Kuruvoli also won the Deans trophy for Queen Victoria School in 2017 with his fellow Flying Fijian Tevita Ikanivere.

He then joined the Fijian Under-18 and Under-20 teams and also played for the Fijian Warriors, Fijian Latui before joining the Fiji 7s team for the Oceania 7s.

He made his big break in the international arena as one of the young stars to be named in the Flying Fijians Autumn Nations Test matches when he was named as a replacement halfback for Frank Lomani.

The 22-year-old Kadavu lad plays for the Tailevu rugby team in the Fiji Rugby Provincial competition.

By Romeka Romena 

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