Sunia Koto Vuli - Racing Club Narbonne Méditerranée

  • Surname: Vuli
  • First name/s: Sunia Koto
  • Date of birth: 15.04.1980
  • Place of birth: Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Club: Racing Club Narbonne Mediterranée
  • Position: Hooker

Continuing with the French Embassy’s series "Discovering Fiji’s Rugbymen in France" we have Sunia Koto Vuli, yet another bold figure of Fiji Rugby who has made his way beyond our shores to join the ranks of Fiji’s rugbymen in France.

With a total of 32 test matches for Fiji under his belt, Vuli has previously played for clubs in Australia and England. Read on for this exclusive interview:

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

A: I am from Yadrana, Lakeba in Lau but I grew up in Nadonumai Road, Lami. Lami is a growing town on the outskirts of Fiji’s capital city, Suva.

Q: When did you start playing rugby?

A: In 1996, I joined the under-16 team at Marist Brothers High School. The school is a Roman Catholic all-boys school that first opened its doors to students in the 1930s.

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 with the Warringah Rugby Club in 2003. I was chosen to represent Fiji is 2004 and have done so right up till 2011, which is a total of 32 Test Matches. I was with the London Welsh Rugby Club (England) from 2007 – 2009. And then in 2009, I joined the Racing Club Narbonne Mediterranée, which is my current club. I think playing professionally requires hard work and discipline.

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Sunia Koto at a church overlooking the city of Marseilles
(Photo: Supplied)

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 arrived for the 2007 Word Cup and just fell in love with the place. I secured a contract in France in 2009 through my Manager in England with a French rugby agent.

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

A: I guess my lifestyle has changed and perspective on seeing things our family living standard has improved, visited new countries and meeting new friends.

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

A: It was very difficult trying to settle in with the players as the language was very difficult

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

A: Siesta....where nearly everything closes down (small towns), for lunch break....

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

A: France has a very good welfare system, educational system, health system - compared to Fiji where all this is very expensive.

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

A: Yes

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Racing Club Narbonne Mediterranée (RCNM) motto– a heart that beats orange and black (the club colours)
(Photo: RCNM)

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

A: Phone calls to their landline, Skype, emails.

Q: Why did you decide to come and play in France?

A: The good playing conditions here in France, as the rugby clubs looks after the players and their family’s welfare.

Q: What do you like most about France?

A: The history, the culture and lifestyle. I am just learning so much.

Q: What do you miss the most?

A: Family, friends

Q: Most memorable match moment as a player?

A: Beating Wales in the 2007 World Cup in France to Qualify for the Quarter Finals against South Africa

Q: Most memorable moment as a spectator?

A: As a 17 year old watching our Harbour Sharks team in Fiji wining the Senior Grade competition.

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Q: Favourite rugby player?

A: The Former All Blacks Captain, Sean Fitzpatrick.

Q: Favourite team?

A: Flying Fijians

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

A: I am not famous so no problem with this question.

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Racing Club Narbonne Mediterranée Team Photo
(Photo: Supplied)

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

A: I will retire from all forms of rugby when I finish my professional career...but still definitely playing touch rugby on the beach.

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

A: Maybe go into commercial farming...

Q: Who inspires you the most?

A: My wife and 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: Always have strong coffee and definitely brush my teeth 1 hour before a game.

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Published on 17/08/2012

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