Beyond the Pitch- Former Fiji Rugby Player Graduates with Diploma

Posted On: May 7, 2024

A successful sporting career does not negate the importance of education, and by investing in academic development, athletes can equip themselves with valuable skills and qualifications for a successful future beyond the game.

This rings true for former Fiji Rugby player and current Nadroga Rugby player Manueli Ratuniyarawa, who recently graduated with a Diploma in Wood Processing and Value Adding (Level 5) from the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (CAFF).

Ratuniyarawa, a forward on the pitch, exemplifies dedication to building a future beyond rugby.

With the relentless guidance of his father, he pursued academic development alongside his athletic pursuits.

“While all I wanted to do was play rugby, my father was the one who tirelessly pushed me to pursue an education and have a solid plan for the future. I dedicate my achievement today to him,” said an emotional Ratuniyarawa.

“How I wish he was here to witness this moment, a testament to his support. Unfortunately, he is admitted to the Lautoka hospital.”

From proudly donning the national rugby jersey to serving his community in Nadroga as a police officer, he has now added a diploma to his list of achievements. Ratuniyarawa intends to further his educational pursuits.

The multi-talented Ratuniyarawa offered these inspiring words of advice: “Developing a resilient mindset and acquiring valuable skills are crucial for long-term success. No matter the challenges you face, perseverance is key. By overcoming obstacles and continuously learning, you can achieve your goals.”

Etonia Naba, one of Nadroga Rugby Club’s core coaches, highlighted the importance of education for young rugby players.

Naba emphasised the need for programmes that prepare these athletes for life beyond the rugby pitch.

“We want to empower and educate our young rugby players for life after rugby,” he stated.

“While some players will make it into the national teams or secure overseas contracts, the reality is that many will not make it. This is where education becomes crucial, as it will ensure a smooth transition after their playing days are over.”