From The Sunday Mercury (27 November 2011)
Worcester Warriors new centre Ravai Fatiaki reveals the secret of his success
by Brian Dick
SOUTH Sea smasher Ravai Fatiaki has paid tribute to the person who made his move to Worcester possible – his wife Kelera.
The Fijian arrived at Sixways last week and will wear the Blue and Gold for the first time in tomorrow night's A League clash with Leicester.
It will be his first action since appearing at the World Cup, where he started in the defeat to Wales and came on as a replacement against South Africa.
And, after waiting weeks for him to arrive, Warriors boss Richard Hill is keen to throw the 24-year-old into Premiership action as soon as possible – perhaps even against Exeter on Saturday.
However, all of that is a long way from the situation the softly-spoken centre found himself in a year ago.
And after 12 months out of the sport he admits he was not in a good place.
"I was lucky to have the FRU staff report," he said.
"They took me through rehab and helped me a lot but after that there were a few niggling injuries because I wasn't ready but I wanted to start playing. It was too early.
"That whole year with no rugby was hell. I lost hope.
"Then in December last year my wife helped me, she encouraged me and I starting training again.
"My wife literally chased me out of the house all the time. Every day she would tell me to run or go to the gym. I couldn't escape her.
"I was called into trials for the Fiji A team and from there I made the World Cup.
"It has been very quick but I am not surprised because in the off-season I was really into it. I trained hard.
"But it's thanks to her I am at Worcester now."
Fatiaki got his big break in 2009 when he won the first of his eight Fiji caps as a replacement fly-half against Japan.
But a break of an unwanted variety was to follow when he snapped a bone in his leg trying to prevent someone scoring in a trial game. That cost him more than two years of his international career and it was not until July this year that he worked his way back in.
He did that by marking his return and second cap with a try in the win over Samoa. Six more followed, including one against a strong New Zealand side.
And in mid-July, just six months after his wife took action, Fatiaki had agreed a deal to come to England on the advice of compatriot and former Warrior Netani Talei.
"It is a good challenge, it's a steep leaning curve but a good experience," he said.
"A good season for me would be some game-time so that I can show what I have got and continue from there."
Hill is open-minded about whether to deploy the new man at inside or outside centre, both of which have been left short on options after Alex Crockett's injury. But what is clear is the head coach's desire to have Fatiaki involved as soon as possible.
"He is an international centre who has played at the World Cup," Hill said. "He will be involved as soon as we feel he has settled in. If he has a sparkling game on Monday night then he is in the frame immediately."
And Fatiaki is looking to make a similar impact to the one made by fellow Fijian Seru Rabeni. The dynamic three-quarter was a massive favourite during his time in the Premiership, first with Tigers and then with Leeds.
What stood out was his big hitting in defence and strong ball carrying in attack and Fatiaki hopes to emulate his countryman.
"He is someone I look up to, he is a good centre. I try to play like him, very physical, I like to smash people."
And he also looking forward to settling down off the pitch. Kelera has already arrived and he is expecting his young daughter to follow soon.
But the weather, unseasonably warm so far, has already proved a bit of a shock to the system.
"My wife loves England, it is beautiful but it's very cold.
"New Zealand was not this cold although it was very cold in Dunedin when we played the All Blacks and I couldn't feel my hands or legs."
From Worcester Warriors Online (22 November 2011)
Fijian ace Fatiaki arrives at Warriors
by Ben Mottram
New recruit Ravai Fatiaki has checked into Worcester Warriors and is eager to get stuck into life in the Aviva Premiership at Sixways.
The Fiji international, fresh from his Rugby World Cup exploits, arrived in the city over the weekend and today was thrown into his first training sessions to the delight of Head Coach Richard Hill.
"He is a lovely lad who he works hard and has good skills. He has been tackling hard, as all Fijians do, and we plan to get him involved with the Cavaliers on Monday against Leicester.
"After that we will look at Exeter. He is an international centre who has played at the World Cup. He will be involved as soon as we feel he has settled in. If he has a sparkling game on Monday night then he is in the frame immediately."