Jovilisi Waqa; Vinaka Vakalevu, to our Rugby Sevens Guru

Jovilisi Waqa; Loloma, to our Rugby Sevens Guru

It is with real sadness, that Last Word on Rugby bid farewell to a dear friend and contributor. Jovilisi Waqa. Our Rugby Sevens Guru and the cornerstone of the sites Pacifica rugby content. It is to our friend Jovi, that we say ‘Vinaka Vakalevu’ our friend.

Jovi was to the rugby sevens coverage for LWOR, what Waisale Serevi was to Fiji Sevens. He was our benchmark, and the sad news of his passing has rocked the management group. Our network extends our fondest sympathies to his family and friends, and wish to pay our deepest respects and thanks (Vinaka) to his immense contributions.

Jovilisi Waqa; Vinaka Vakalevu, to our Rugby Sevens Guru

Joining our staff in September 2015, Jovi brought a fresh perspective to Last Word on Sport’s then coverage of Rugby. A brave champion of the rugby sevens game, he added content during the 2015 Rugby World Cup – enjoying the world’s focus on the Fijian Rugby team, the organization know he was proud of his earliest contributions.

Patience is Key for Fiji Rugby side at RWC

From that initial start, Jovi began to influence the rugby coverage of the growing network. He soon focused on the first-ever appearance of rugby sevens at the Olympic Games – and with this moment, we believe it was the most enjoyable moment of his time as a part of the network.

His team, the Flying Fijians, were the favourites. They were the side who appeared to throw the ball around with little planning, yet Jovi knew that head coach Ben Ryan was on course to direct star players like Jerry Tuwai, towards glory. And you know what….Jovi was right on the money!!

Fiji Unites In Sevens Gold Medal Celebration

That victory was well deserved, however, his along with input from Ryan Jordan and Scott Hornell encouraged LWOS to invest in the establishment of a standalone Last Word on Rugby page. It was a terrific leap of faith in the department, and was an opportunity for Jovilisi to further expand his coverage.

Now Jovi could write about his loved HSBC Sevens Series – both the men’s as much as the women’s series – and Jovi began to cover Oceania Rugby, more Pacifica rugby and Sevens tournaments like the Coral Coast Sevens. This in fact was his skill – to grow the rugby knowledge of readers.

A keen sense of the sport, Jovi would love to know that his input has benefitted the site, as much the people around him. And the one passion he showed always, was for the game he loved.

The above item is now a ‘cornerstone article’. Meaning, it is one foundation pieces that the entire web page is built on. That is how important a part of this writing team that Jovi was. Something his family can be extremely proud of. Vinaka Vakalevu bro.

The respect and love (Loloma in Fijian) that Jovilis Waqa has built within Last Word on Rugby management is treasured. He created his own notch within the department, as such was his knowledge and influence. With Fiji again reigning supreme on the men’s HSBC Sevens Series, it was a credit to his resume that one of the final pieces that Jovi wrote was a loving article on how Fiji Sevens magic touched the City of Love.

One man who knew Jovi well – even though the two unfortunately never got to meet – is Scott Hornell. Senior editor and fellow sevens fan, Scott has added his own tribute. “Joby was a very astute rugby fan. His vision, honesty, and variety never ceased to amaze me.

“From Oceania junior sports competitions to Sudamerica Sevens tournaments, he had his finger on the pulse. From the Central Coast Sevens, where Jovi showed how to network with organizers like Craig Morgan, and interview players like Jesse Parahi, to writing about a place he called the Mecca of Sevens; Hong Kong, Jovi knew the business.

“In my rugby-relationships, it was my privilege to work with him. Vinaka my brother.”

From the entire team at Last Word on Rugby and #rugbyunited, we say ‘Vinaka Vakalevu’ to our good friend, and leading Rugby Sevens contributor, Jovilisi Waqa. RIP

Click on the following links, to see his entire catalogue of Rugby Sevens articles here.


“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images