Rugby Union

Rugby world mourns Seru Rabeni

The rugby world is in shock today following the death of former Flying Fijian center and wing  Seru Rabeni. Rabeni, who collapsed at his Nausori home yesterday morning is hailed by many as one of the best Centre’s Fiji has ever seen. He was nick-named “Rambo” because of his bone crunching tackles. As tributes pop up all […]

Newsroom

March 16, 2016 4:10 pm

The rugby world is in shock today following the death of former Flying Fijian center and wing  Seru Rabeni.

Photo: David Jones/PA
Photo: David Jones/PA

Rabeni, who collapsed at his Nausori home yesterday morning is hailed by many as one of the best Centre’s Fiji has ever seen. He was nick-named “Rambo” because of his bone crunching tackles.

As tributes pop up all over social media, the Fiji Rugby Union announced via a radio interview today that it would organise an event to honour the memory of the rugby player whose career spanned 11 years earning 30 Test caps.

He will perhaps best be remembered for his sensational virtuoso display against Wales in the pool stages of the 2007 World Cup in France where he was the catalyst for one of the most sensational upsets of all-time, playing a huge hand in knocking his opponents out of the tournament.
– Said the UK’s Daily Mail

Former England fly-half and recognised as one of the worlds best rugby players, Jonny Wilkinson  said “Seru Rabeni’s passing is incredibly sad. What a player and a team man. Our support and best wishes go to his family.”

While the cause of death is unknown, father-in-law, former Naitasiri Rugby Union administrator Viliame Kanatabua was quoted saying that Rabeni had been “sick for a while”.

"Saddened to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni today, our thoughts are with your family said his New Zealand Club on twitter. Photo: Otago Highlanders
“Saddened to hear of the passing of Seru Rabeni today, our thoughts are with your family said his New Zealand Club on twitter. Photo: Otago Highlanders

Originally from  Nasole, Bua, the former Ratu Kadavulevu School student began his rugby career playing for Lautoka while studying to be a school teacher. He moved onto Suva before making his sevens debut in Dubai in 1998 before he played in two Hong Kong 7s tournaments.

Rabeni played Under 21 and Under 23 for Fiji before making his test debut in May 2000 against Japan  during the Epson Cup/Pacific Rim Championship tournament.

Rabeni moved to New Zealand to pursue studies at the University of Otago in 2001 and played for a local club before he secured a Highlanders contract during the 2003-2004 season.

Seru and Noame Rabeni with their sons. Photo: Facebook
Seru and Noame Rabeni with their sons. Photo: Facebook

Rabeni played some of his best rugby for English club Leicester Tigers before being named in the Pacific Island squad. Rabeni represented Fiji in the 2003 and 2007 rugby world cup.  The other high-profile clubs he has played with include Leeds in England, La Rochelle and Mont-du-Marsan in France.

At the conclusion of his playing career, Rabeni pursued coaching and moved to the United States to be assistant coach for Lindenwood University in Saint Louis,Missouri. Later he was head of the coaching staff for the Discovery Bay Pirates in Hong Kong where he focused on the under 13 and Under 19 teams.

Rabeni leaves behind wife, university sweetheart school teacher Noame and sons Josh and Seru Jr.

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