Kolinisau : “Help the USA become a great rugby nation”
(translated from French to English)
He had played in Top 14 and worn the colors of Agen in 2010-2011. He was the two-time Olympic rugby champion two years ago with Fiji, where he was captain: we found the versatile back Osea Kolinisau (32 years, 130 selections) in the United States. He plays for the franchise of Houston, engaged in the American professional championship which has just started. Rugbyrama: How did you land in the USA?
Osea Kolinisau: After the Olympic title with Fiji, I needed a break. I had played rugby 7 for years, traveled a lot and wanted to land with my family. I was looking for a new challenge. I was contacted by the coach from Houston, who offered me the opportunity to come play but also to convert me back into training. That was decisive: when I finish my career, I want to become a coach so it played a big part in my coming here.
Do you already coach? O.K .: Yes, the players of the academy. It’s the equivalent of your hopes. That sounds like what, American rugby? O.K .: Let’s say he’s growing up … The United States is a sleeping giant in terms of rugby. I hope that American rugby will one day be comparable to French rugby, with the level of play that will rise and the best players that will join us. For now, the level of play is comparable to the Federal 1, even the Pro D2 on very good matches. Is not it frustrating to play at this level for you? O.K .: I admit that it is a little sometimes. But we must know why we are here. Our role is to grow rugby, to develop it. Coming here is a way to learn for Americans and a way to share our experience for us. There are Fijians, Irish, Australians and even French playing here. We are here to help the USA become a great rugby nation.
Even if you are not a captain here, you have a lot of responsibilities in this team. O.K .: Yes and it suits me. I am here for this. I have a skill, an experience, that I want to put at the service of the others so that we manage to play a rugby of high level. You were nevertheless the captain of the first Olympic rugby sevens team. What are you left of? O.K: It’s a memory that accompanies me, a legacy and something that we can always be proud of. We have done something important for Fiji. You have your face on a bank note there it seems … O.K .: Yes it’s true! As I said, we wrote a piece of our country’s history and left a legacy. I have a six-month-old boy who was born here in the USA. I hope that as he gets older he will learn that his dad has been involved in something special for Fiji. Maybe he will be international too someday! What do you prefer in the end: VII or XV? O.K: Definitely VII because there are many more spaces. That said, rugby sevens is a bit like rugby sevens here, since it is very focused on the attack. We can speak on the ground and have fun, it is appreciable. We are free to circulate the ball. Except that there are many more sturdy players than VII. They do not really laugh …