Jone Tawake - Union Sportive Bressane de Pays l’Ain (USBPA)

  • Surname: Tawake
  • First name/s: Jone
  • Place of birth: Fiji
  • Date of birth: 17/04/1982
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Club: Union Sportive Bressane de Pays l’Ain (USBPA)
  • Position: Backrow / 8

Our next Fiji rugbyman is former Brumbies player, Jone Tawake. Beginning an exciting new season with Union Sportive Bressane de Pays l’Ain (USBPA), Tawake has over 10 years of rugby experience under his belt.

Having moved to Australia at a young age he grew up on the outskirts of the professional rugby arena and made his appearance on it at the age of 18 years when he joined the Waratahs for Super 12 rugby.

He has since played for the Burmbies, Australia A and was named in the World Cup Squad for 5 consecutive years. His move to play rugby abroad saw him play in Japan and now in France, where he is currently based.

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Jone Tawake of US Bressane
(Photo : F.M)

Read on for his interview for the Embassy’s series “Discovering Fiji’s rugbymen in France”:

Q: Which part of Fiji are you from originally? Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Suva but moved to Australia when I was 15 years old.

Q: When did you start playing rugby?

A: I started playing rugby when I was 15 years old.

Q: When did you start playing professionally? What clubs have you played in? Tell us briefly about your rugby career. (Your progress through to where you are now)

A: I started playing professionally when I was 18 years old. I played for the Waratahs (Super 12) for 3 years and the Brumbies (Super 14) for 5 years, before moving to play in Japan for Secom for a year. After that I moved to France to play for Narbonne for 2 years and now for Toulon*. I have also played for Australia A and from 2003 – 2007 was in the World Cup Squad.
*Editors note - At the time of this interview, Tawake’s move to US Bressane had not been formalised.

Q: What was the “triggering factor” that made you decide to go to France? How did you manage to find (contact) a club in France?

A: After playing in Japan my agent, through his contacts, got me to Narbonne.

Q: What has changed in your life since you started playing professionally?

A: I have two kids now so it’s very exciting travelling the world with them.

Q: Did you find it easy, as a newcomer, to settle in with the rest of your team mates? To settle in France?

A: Yes at first, but you adapt to the culture and the weather and the people and the language.


Q: When you first arrived in France, what shocked or surprised you the most?

A: The food and the lifestyle.

Q: What do you think are the biggest differences between living in Fiji and living in France?

A: The way it provides better medical assistance and is a more advanced country than Fiji.

Q: Is your family with you in France? If not, how often do you visit them?

A: They are with me here in France.

Q: How do you stay in touch with your loved ones back home in Fiji?

A: Through telephone and Skype.

Q: What do you like most about France?

A: I think it’s a great country.

Q: What do you miss the most?

A: My Mum.

Q: Most memorable match moment as a player?

A: Winning the Super 12 Championships with the Brumbies.

Q: Most memorable moment as a spectator?

A: Watching Usain Bolt run the 100m in the Olympics.

Q: Favourite rugby player?

A: George Smith.

Q: Favourite team?

A: The Brumbies

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Tawake (centre) congratulated by RC Toulon teammates Jonny Wilkinson and Seva Rokobaro. After his try against Agen in the 2009 Top 14 competition.
(Photo : / Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Q: How are you coping with your fame as an overseas professional rugby player?

A: I’m not really famous so it’s easy. No one really knows me.

Q: When your overseas rugby career ends, would you consider returning to play for Fiji?

A: No, I can’t.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

A: I see myself back in Australia.

Q: Who inspires you the most?

A: My kids.

Q: We hear many sports people have a lucky charm (special shorts, etc) or even a special ritual they use/do before a big game; do you have one? If yes, what is it?

A: No, I don’t.

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Published on 25/02/2013

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