August 20, 2021
2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s 7s bronze medalist and Fijiana 7s rep Laisana Likuceva reflected on her transition from netball to 15s then shifting focus to 7s.
Likuceva revealed that she played netball ahead of her rugby career. But in 2019, her life took a challenging turn when she featured for the Yasawa women’s 15s team in the Vodafone Vanua Championship.
The young Yasawa native did not only impress her fans but also attracted the eyes of the Fijiana 7s head coach Saiasi Fuli.
“I did not know much about rugby but I took part in the 15s team with a little knowledge. At first I found it difficult coming from netball then playing directly 15s. It was challenging and I told myself that there is no looking back.”
“The coaches in the Yasawa team helped me a lot. Like in my free time I used to take lessons from them and also I started to play with the village girls and boys. Some of the netball skills like long passes helped me a lot in rugby.”
“I was surprised when I was chosen to be part of the 7s team because I had little knowledge of 7s rugby. But then I was called for trials in the camp and saw so many experienced and newcomers. I heard about the Olympics and said to myself that I want a medal from there one day.”
Likuceva revealed that her Olympic preparations began after her selection to the Fijiana 7s extended squad in 2019.
“So I started to put in the extra efforts and took part in the local competitions. It helped me to enhance my 7s knowledge and also shaped my playing style. Playing locally gave me experience and I also got to know of my strong and weak areas.
“Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic was another challenge to deal with because we came to camp and there was no going back. The coach encouraged and motivated us to do our best. He was always there for us and also our family who supported us throughout. They were the reason why I didn’t want to go back and challenged myself to bring a medal for them,” she added.
By Romeka Romena