Domoni brothers continue legacy with NSW Fiji

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

You don’t have to look far in the Domoni family to find rugby.

Brothers Sam and Sev Domoni, sons of former Fiji national coach and 1991 World Cup representative Sam, have been immersed in it their entire lives.

Sev, 26, played for Fiji’s U20s in 2010 in Argentina, alongside future Wallabies and Super Rugby players including Tevita Kuridrani, and against future All Blacks like Julian Savea.

Sam’s journey went very differently, with hip surgery as a teenager almost putting an end to his time in rugby, the younger brother taking a six-year break from the sport, before being cleared to return.

Given their different paths,  it wasn’t until last year that the pair played together, and they tasted silverware immediately, winning the NSW Pacific Cup with NSW Fiji.

“It was unreal,” Sam said.

“I’ve never played alongside my brother in any sport.

“To play with him last year was a dream come true as for any brother out there.”

They won’t be able to replicate that this year, with Sev suffering a knee injury earlier in the season, but he’ll be watching on as they vie for back-to-back titles.

It won’t be easy for Sev to watch on, but he has an intimate understanding of how much another win would mean to the team, in a rare chance to represent their heritage.

“I had a little taste of that in U20s as well, it’s a feeling like you’ve done something for your family and for your country, “ he said.

"I know what that feeling is, donning that jersey, it’s not just your club, it’s your country on your back.”

Both men have leaned on their father through their lives on and off the field, even with the elder Sam living in Fiji as his sons moved to Australia.

For Sam, his father is his greatest inspiration and the 24-year-old recalls sitting down to watch a clip of his matches before games, seeing his dad go up against Australian legends like John Eales.

“He is a very important man to my life, not only a rolemodel, he’s a top bloke,” Sam says.

“Going to his games, watching him play, going backstage, sometimes he’d take me and my brother, it just grows on you.

“As a rugby player, I every time before games day before my game, I put on one of his games, watch him play, try and get inspired.

“I’ve asked him to send over those tapes and tried to find a VCR over here to watch him and analyse.”

The brothers share a close bond, that only pauses when they hit the Playstation, where Sev jokes it’s as if they stop being siblings.

“It’s a different language, once we hit the PS and play NBA, we’re not brothers,” he said.

“I think he (Sam) does (have the edge) for a bit but if he ticks me off a bit, I get pretty competitive.”

NSW Fiji is the reigning Pacific Cup champions and they will take on NSW Tonga  at 10:30am AEDT in the first game of a massive day at TG Millner Oval on Saturday, celebrating the NRC’s Pasifika round.

Fans are being encouraged to bring their pre-loved rugby gear to NRC matches this weekend, to donate to The Fiji Project. More information here.