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Fiji’s World Cup 7s rep dies
12:10 pm GMT+12, 10/02/2011, Fiji
Fiji’s 1997 Melrose Cup 7s winner Inoke Maraiwai died at the Navua Hospital on Tuesday night.

The former utility player in the abbreviated code died in the loving arms of his wife Adi Varanisese Logavatu Maraiwai.

Speaking to SUNSports yesterday Di Vara, as she is affectionately known to friends, said the once gentle giant of rugby in the country had been suffering from gout for the past 10 years.

“He passed away last night (Tuesday),” she said.

“The attack has been coming once in a while, so he was a known gout patient,” she said.

Di Vara said her husband returned home feeling “feverish” after work on Friday.

“We went to visit the doctor and the fever triggered his gout again but he got better later. And then just yesterday (Tuesday) there was a sudden attack of stomach ache and when we went to the Navua Hospital, there was internal bleeding and the gout had entered his internal organs. He died there.”

Di Vara confirmed they were to have talks with the family last night before anything could be finalised regarding Maraiwai’s funeral.

Maraiwai was a sprinter at Queen Victoria School and also played rugby for the school and the QVS Old Boys club in the Suva Rugby Union competition.

In 1997 he was the talk of Fiji rugby being a new find yanked from the lot of unknown players in the local competition to be part of the 7s Rugby World Cup team.

A surprise selection to the late Rupeni Ravonu’s team, Maraiwai teamed-up with 7s maestro Waisale Serevi, the late Aminiasi ‘Steelman’ Naituyaga,Lemeki Koroi, Marika Vunibaka, Luke Erenavula, ‘Black Pearl’ Manasa Bari, Taniela Qauqau, Jope Tuikabe and giant winger Leveni Duvuduvukula to bring home the Melrose Cup.

He shut critics out during the World Cup proving himself worthy of selection when he scored crucial tries in the Cup final stages, before helping Fiji defeat South Africa in the main Cup final.

As a tribute to the Cup win, Post Fiji launched a set of stamps to celebrate the famous So Kon Po victory.

He also came from a rugby family, following in the footstep of his late father Vueti Maraiwai.

Funeral arrangement details are expected to be announced later.

SOURCE: FIJI SUN/PACNEWS

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