Jerry Tuwai rugby player
Jerry Tuwai rugby player

Jerry Tuwai

23rd Mar 1989 1.74m/79kg Fly Half

A legend of the game, Jerry Tuwai is one of the most decorated players in the world of sevens. Born in Newtown, a poor district in the outskirts of Suva, Fiji, to Poasa Vunisa and Seruwaia Vualiku. He was raised in a one-room house with corrugated iron walls. As a child, he used to play rugby with plastic bottles and bundled-up T-shirts, since there was no money to afford rugby balls.

Between the ages of 14 and 15, he used to join his father to fish and then sell the capture on the streets, which he defines as "a very hard job".

He grew up playing rugby in his school, but only took to the sport seriously at 18, after dropping volleyball. He then joined Newtown Rugby Club, his local club, where he quickly excelled for his speed and sidestepping, which set him apart from the other players, according to his coach at the time, Meli Nakalivadra. He was subsequently invited to join Marist Rugby Club's Sevens team, against whom he impressed during a match played in Suva. There he played well enough to get in the radar of the national sevens team's coaching staff and was subsequently invited to train with the national sevens squad, but only lasted one camp, before being discarded for being "too small to play international rugby"

Two years later, then Fiji Sevens coach Ben Ryan saw him playing in the Marist sevens, the biggest annual club tournament in Fiji, and invited him to train with the national squad. A nippy customer with a lethal side step, Tuwai has been a regular in the Fijian Sevens team since making his debut for the side at the Gold Coast 7s back in 2014.

He has since gone on to play in over 50 Series events for the Fijians, becoming just the second player to do so for the Pacific Islanders after former captain Osea Kolinisau.

Tuwai uses his hard upbringing for motivation on the pitch. He has told the story before that his father and mother saved enough money to buy him his first pair of rugby boots. As his mother handed him the boots, his mother told him “this is your life – this is your knife and your fork”. He added that “When I get tired and want to give up I just picture our house and my parents and I am working for them. I just picture my Mum working and my Dad working hard on the farm."

In 2019 he was named as the Sevens Player of the Year after being nominated in the two successive years prior to that. A year later he was crowned the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade.

He was the only player to be part of Fiji’s five successive Hong Kong titles and captained Fiji to a silver medal at Commonwealth Games 2018.

In July 2021, he captained the side to their second Olympic Gold Medal and in doing so became Rugby Sevens first double gold medallist.

Stats as of July 2021:

- Fiji’s all-time leading try-scorer on Series
- Second Fijian to play 50 Series tournaments behind Rio 2016-winning captain Osea Kolinisau (62)
- Named World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year 2019 at World Rugby Awards in Tokyo on 3 November, third year in a row nominated
- Fans voted him World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade in December 2020
- Only player to be part of Fiji’s five successive Hong Kong titles
- Made Fiji debut on Series in Gold Coast in 2014
- Played at RWC Sevens 2018
- Captained Fiji to silver medal at Commonwealth Games 2018
- Double Olympic Gold medalist.

JW July 2021.


fidji Fiji 7's
Fly Half
2014 - present