Saimoni Vaka, player for the SU Agen - "Discovering Fijian rugbymen in France!"
First name: Saimoni
Date of birth: 02/06/1987
Place of birth: Suva
Club: Sporting Union Agen
Marital Status: Single
Saimoni Vaka is a Fijian rugby player from Suva. After playing in different teams, he flew to France in 2006 and became a professional player in 2008 when he joined the Sporting Union Agen. He was the top try scorer for Agen in the season 2010 – 2011.
Agen is a town located in the South-West of France, in Aquitaine. Its rugby club is more than 100 years old! The Sporting Union Agen was created in 1908. The club motto is “courage, boldness and self-sacrifice”. The club plays at top level in France, in the Top 14, and is now in 10th position with 52 points. Of the 26 games played: they have won 12, lost 13 and had 1 draw. The club colours are “White and Blue”.
Boasting two Fijians on their team, the SU Agen Rugby Club decided to respond favourably to the Fiji Flood Fundraising Appeal issued by the Embassy of Fiji in Belgium. The fundraising event, which took place on 12th May in Brussels, was in aid of the victims of the recent violent floods.
The club sent jerseys, one game jersey signed by all the club players, and rugby DVDs: “La Tribu Rugby” – filmed in Agen and about learning the rules of rugby in an educational and entertaining way, and “Fono Et Ses Frères” – a documentary of Tongan rugbymen in the SUA Club and the town of Agen.
Club officials reaffirmed that their small contribution was a show of the camaraderie that is displayed not only on the field but off it as well.
“The managers and players of the Agen Rugby Club fully support you in this difficult time,” stated club manager, Claude Gabarret.
And here is our interview with Saimoni Vaka, wing for the Sporting Union Agen, who agreed to answer questions for the French Embassy website section “Discovering Fiji’s Rugbymen in France!”
Q: Which part of Fiji are you from originally? Where did you grow up?
A: I was born and grew up in Suva, the capital, on Viti Levu.
Q: When did you start playing rugby?
A: I started at the age of 6.
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 rugby at primary school, then, with Suva Grammar from 2003 to 2006. I went to France in 2006, and started playing professionally with Agen in 2008.
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: I managed to find a club through an agent.
Q: What has changed in your life since you started playing professionally?
A: I became independent.
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, as there was a lot of foreigners but I was able to settle in well. At the beginning, settling in France was hard because of the weather (it was so cold!), and I was also far away from my family…
Q: When you first arrived in France, what shocked or surprised you the most?
A: The weather. Too cold!
Q: What do you think are the biggest differences between living in Fiji and living in France?
A: The standard of living, the culture and the way of life, they are really different.
Q: Is your family with you in France? If not, how often do you visit them?
A: No, they are not here, so I visit them in Fiji after the rugby season.
Q: How do you stay in touch with your loved ones back home in Fiji?
A: Thanks to internet.
Q: Why did you decide to come and play in France?
A: To improve my rugby.
Q: What do you like most about France?
A: Their culture and their food.
Q: What is the hardest?
A: Being apart from my family.
Q: Most memorable match moment as a player?
A: Being top try scorer for Agen in 2010 – 2011.
Q: Favourite rugby player?
A: David Pocock, Quade Cooper, Daniel Carter and many more.
Q: Favourite team?
A: The All Blacks… and Agen of course, lol!
Q: When your overseas rugby career ends, would you consider returning to play for Fiji?
A: Why not, if given the opportunity.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
A: Hopefully playing top level Rugby in France.
Q: Who inspires you the most?
A: My family.
Q: Do you have a lucky charm or a special ritual you do before a big game?
A: No I don’t, I just pray the Almighty for guidance and protection before every game.
The SU Agen website: http://www.agen-rugby.com/
The Top 14 results: http://www.lequipe.fr/Rugby/top-14-classement.html