Houston SaberCats & Osea Kolinisau
The Houston SaberCats signed Osea Kolinisau for a second Major League Rugby season. Osea is from Suva, Fiji, is 33-years-old, 5’8″, and 198 pounds. He played in all eight matches last season at center and occasionally at fullback. He has additional team responsibilities as one of the SaberCats Academy coaches.
Osea played club rugby for Covenant Brother Rugby Club and in the 2012 Coral Coast Sevens tournament, for the Serevi Selects.
He is best known for being the most capped player for the Fiji Sevens team and for leading Fiji as captain to the country’s first Olympic Gold Medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Osea made his debut for the Fiji Sevens team in 2008 at the Dubai Sevens and played with the team until 2017. He became captain of the team in 2014 and led Fiji to two consecutive first-place finishes in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for the 2014-15 and the 2015-16 seasons. Osea is the 12th all-time HSBC Sevens Series point scorer with 1272 points. He played in 301 matches and scored 122 tries.
He was the flag bearer for Team Fiji at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and became a national hero and celebrity after the rugby team beat Great Britain 43-7 to win the Gold Medal. He scored the team’s first try in the Gold Medal match.
Following the Olympic Games, he was awarded the Officer of the Order of Fiji, which is presented for achievement and merit to Fiji and mankind as a whole. He is also depicted on a commemorative Fiji 7 Dollar Banknote.
Ben Ryan also arranged for a scholarship to be offered to attend Loughborough University, but soon after came the opportunity to play professionally in the inaugural Major League Rugby season for the Houston SaberCats.
Sometimes, timing is everything and with his marriage to Mere Tavu Fa, the economic incentive for stability was important.
Osea was a key contributor for the SaberCats during the 2018 season. he played in all eight matches and was the co-team leader in tries with Josua Vici with five. That placed both players in 5th place as MLR try scorers. His leadership was invaluable both on the pitch and off. His rugby knowledge was shared with the team and through his Academy coaching.
The 2019 Major League Rugby season should be an exciting one. The team’s roster has improved and Osea should be a team leader again. The 2019 season is a 16 match regular season and the team has reinforcements available, if needed, from the West Houston Lions Division 1 side.
Having the opportunity to return to Fiji to visit with family and friends was important following the season. He has been back with the team since October and is attending to his coaching responsibilities and also in preparation for the 2019 season.
Houston SaberCats Comments
“The SaberCats are excited to announce that Rugby Sevens Gold Medalist Osea Kolinisau will be returning to the team in 2019. Last season, Osea was a major contributor on the field, scoring five tries, along with being one of six players in the MLR to successfully execute a dropkick.
Already a household name among rugby fans in his native country of Fiji (having even earned a spot on their seven dollar bill), Osea will bring his wealth of experience back here to Houston, not only on the field but as a coach in the newly established SaberCats Academy.”
July 2017 Comments
Osea said, ‘I’m thankful to the Lord and the Strikers management for this exciting opportunity to be a part of the Houston Strikers Rugby family. I’m looking forward to the new challenge.
Fijian Olympic Coach Ben Ryan said, ‘Osea is one of the finest players I’ve ever coached and easily the best captain. The most capped and most successful Fijian sevens player of all time – he has become an all-time great both in Fiji and in the world of sevens. Hugely talented and with a massive work ethic – he is a brilliant acquisition and will be a fine player on the field and a magnificent role model off it. A finer man you will not meet.’
SaberCats Head Coach Fitzpatrick said, “Osea is a player with a bucket load of individual ability which is well documented for those familiar with the World Sevens Series, he also brings a wealth of experience of leading and performing at the highest levels which will add great value to the Strikers as we build out the manner in which we want to play and instilling the culture of our program. I, therefore, couldn’t be more pleased that Osea has chosen to join the Strikers. I would like to thank my friend and former Ulster team-mate Joe Veitayaki for the introduction and to Coach Ben Ryan for helping with the flow of the conversations.”