Queensland, Fiji rugby mourn trailblazer Taito Rauluni

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The Queensland and Fijian rugby communities are mourning the passing of trailblazer Taito Rauluni, who died last Saturday.

Tributes have poured in for the Rauluni, who became Queensland representative 910 when he played the first of seven games for the state after moving from Fiji in 1975.

An original member of Fiji's Magnificent 7s, who took the Hong Kong Sevens by storm in 1976, Rauluni was idolised in Fiji and throughout the rugby community.

His funeral was held in Brisbane on Friday.

 

Fijian sevens great Waisale Serevi praised Rauluni as his "role model" in an emotional instagram post this week, thanking the halfback for his guidance.

Rugby league great Petero Civoniceva also lauded the journey of the man he and so many in Brisbane's Fijian community called "Uncle Tai", saying his move to Australia and footballing success here paved the way for so many to follow.

Rauluni, the father of Reds representatives Jacob and Moses, also played three times for Fiji XVs before heading to Queensland, paving the way for many to follow in his footsteps.

Jacob and Moses Rauluni also represented Fiji at Test level, with Jacob earning 55 caps for the Reds and Moses coaching at both Queensland Premier Rugby level and with the Fijian national side after his playing career.

Moses Rauluni in action for Fiji. Photo: AFP

Moses confirmed his death on social media earlier this week, thanking him for the sacrifices he had made for his family.

"Rest easy Dad, because of you we had an easier life growing up in Australia," he said of the man born in the village of Qarani on the island of Gau in 1946.

"Thanks for everything you gave and taught us. Humility is everything."

Serevi also thanked Rauluni for his wisdom.

Jacob Rauluni playing Super 12 for the Reds. Photo: Getty Images

"Thank you for all you’ve done to help all of us. You have reminded me to look after the talent God gave, look after my family, perseverance and hard work."

In a tribute provided to Fox Sports, Civoniceva said Rauluni was respected not only for his achievements on the field "but for the man that he was".

"I marvel at how his sons did exactly as he did and I would have my own journey. None of this would have been possible if Uncle Tai didn’t lead the way," he said.

"His light will continue to shine through his sons, their beautiful families, and through our fondest memories of an amazing man. Uncle Taito - you will be missed."