Old Collegians President Kim Evans shares a special moment
with past Old Collegians Junior RFC players Alex Rokobaro and Liam
Gill following the Rebels vs Reds match at AAMI Park!
... Photo courtesy SARU
Picture: Aaron Francis Source: The Australian
Crunch time if rookie Alex Rokobaro wants
something to crow about ·
By: WAYNE SMITH ·
From: The Australian, March 08, 2013 12:00AM
Melbourne Rebels winger Alex Rokobaro, who is set to become the first
South Australian to start a Super Rugby match when he runs on against the
AFL keeps eroding rugby's heartland but the 15-a-side code will at least
strike one blow in retaliation tonight when Melbourne Rebels winger Alex
Rokobaro becomes the first South Australian to start a Super Rugby
The 23-year-old is a self-described rugby gypsy, having attended John
Eales's alma mater, Marist Brothers Ashgrove, before joining Shute Shield
powerhouse Sydney Uni and then heading off to France to play the 2011-12
season under new Waratahs coach Michael Cheika at Stade Francais, but he
remains very much a proud South Australian.
With a Fijian father, Ben, and a South Australian mother, Merridy,
Rokobaro was born in Adelaide and spent the first 15 years of his life
there. As fiercely parochial as his mother's side of the family was - and
still is - where the Crows are concerned, it was rugby that he gravitated
towards as a youngster. "My dad played up till he was 45 for Old
Collegians and won a premiership in every grade at the club, so when I was
a kid I used to go down and watch him play," Rokobaro told The
Australian. "There wasn't any junior rugby for me, so I used to play
some soccer and basketball, but I finally started when I was about nine.
I'd play in the under-10s on a Saturday and watch Dad in the thirds or
fourths on the Sunday."
It was when he was 15 and his family moved to Brisbane that he began to
take rugby seriously and became a devoted fan of the Queensland Reds,
which is just a little awkward because it will be the Reds he will
confront in his run-on debut tonight. "They have some awesome
footballers," said Rokobaro, who isn't quite sure whether to be
relieved or worried that he will be opposing Dom Shipperley tonight rather
than Digby Ioane. There is no question that Ioane is a highly dangerous
game-breaker but Shipperley has started the season in the form of his
life. Rebels coach Damien Hill has made it clear to his players that if
the franchise is to shake off its image as an expansion club and be
seriously considered as a contender, it must win two of its three home
matches at the start of the season. So far the Rebels have beaten the
Force in the season-opener but then blew a narrow half-time lead to be
overrun by the Brumbies. Throw in last week's away loss to the Waratahs in
Sydney, where the Rebels again squandered a good start, and it becomes
apparent why tonight's clash is shaping up as pivotal to Melbourne's
"We've played some really good footy this season but we have
to focus on playing it for the full 80 minutes," Rokobaro said.
"We're not far away from producing it."
There might not be any other South Australians in the Rebels - or any
other Super Rugby franchise, for that matter - but that's not to say
Rokobaro won't have some familiar faces around him tonight. Halfback Nick
Phipps and debutant fullback Angus Roberts are teammates from his days in
Colts. And if Rokobaro happens to emerge as a member of the first Rebels
team to defeat the Reds, well, that would certainly be something to crow
about. In the finest South Australian tradition, of course.
Rokobaro enjoying Melbourne life and Rebels
Croweater Rokobaro Revelling in Super Rugby Opportunity
By Pete Fairbairn 27/02/2013
When I first caught up with Alex Rokobaro at the start of the
pre-season, both he and RaboDirect Rebels Recruiting Manager Sam
Cordingley spoke of the exciting young back as a long-term prospect.
Rokobaro himself added that 2013 was mainly about learning from those
around him and perhaps sneaking a few minutes in, yet just four months
later Rokobaro has already featured in both Super 15 match day squads,
made his Rebels debut and is pushing for a starting spot in the Rebels'
Rokobaro watched as fellow backs Cooper Vuna, Kimami Situati and Jason
Woodward all went down to injuries that would delay the start of their
season, and while he has received greater opportunity as a result, he
certainly takes no pleasure from seeing his teammates hurt; indeed, quite
"When Kimami got injured, I actually found it really tough,"
Rokobaro explains. "We were both aiming for the same spot and going
toe to toe pre-season, so I was really disappointed when he got injured.
We were really feeding off each other's energy, but now all three of them
are nearly back in full training which is great for the team."
Rokobaro came on in leaps and bounds over the pre-season, and openly
admits it was different to the pre-seasons he had done overseas when
playing in the Top 14 for Stade Francais.
"When we had our first run out of the pre-season, 'Hilly' (Head Coach
Damien Hill) kept telling us how quickly pre-season would go. A few of us
kind of looked at each and thought, okay we'll see how that goes because
there is a lot of conditioning to do!" Rokobaro laughs.
"But in hindsight, he was spot on, it goes so quickly and before
we knew it the trial games were upon us. The pre-season here was a lot
different (to the pre-seasons at Stade Francais); in France, there's a lot
of older players so it is more focused on getting blokes back on the field
as opposed to getting blokes bigger and faster. But this year at the
Rebels, with a young crew, all the coaches were excited to work us hard
and see what sort of a group they could mould us into."
Rokobaro was thrust into the action on Friday night against the
Brumbies when James O'Connor went down with concussion, a daunting baptism
of fire but one in which the young flyer excelled and showed plenty to
excite Rebels' fans.
"It was really quite abrupt when James went down. I was ready to have
a bit of a jog and a warm up, and I was hopeful I might get on late in the
game, but suddenly I got the call and it all happened so quickly. I have
wanted to play Super Rugby since I was a kid, so with little time to
prepare suddenly there were a few things going through my mind, but I had
no option other than to settle into the game and work with the other guys
to have a good crack.
"It was disappointing to lose, but I was proud to play and so were
my family and friends. I enjoyed the 30 minutes, I made a few mistakes I
wasn't happy about but I had some good involvement, and now there is
hopefully a lot more Super Rugby ahead of me."
With flyhalf Kurtley Beale a 50/50 proposition for the game against the
Waratahs this coming Saturday, Rokobaro may find himself in line for a
starting spot in a re-jigged backline, but he is keeping his feet well and
truly on the ground.
"I know a lot of the guys in the Waratahs backline as I have
played with and against most of them, so I would love to have a crack for
sure. In saying that, just because Tom (English) and I were the backs on
the bench this week, it doesn't mean that we have first crack.
"Hilly always picks the blokes who are training really well and
you have to come in on Monday ready to rip in, because there's only 48
hours until the team is named. If Kurtley doesn't end up pulling through
it would be a real shame because he is such a good player, but everybody
will be stepping it up on the training pitch trying to get the chance, and
you really don't know who will get it."
Rokobaro is very well-grounded, intelligent and charismatic, another
product of the famed Marist Ashgrove College in Brisbane whose alumni
include Wallaby legend John Eales and cricket champion Matthew Hayden.
Rokobaro isn't a Queenslander though, and while the fanfare on Friday
focused on Shota Horie's debut as the first Japanese player to play for an
Australian Super 15 side, Rokobaro set a record of his own when he came
off the bench.
"Somebody told me that I am the first player born in Adelaide to
play Super Rugby, so if that is true it is a real honour. I was born
there, and lived there until I was fourteen," (except for a small
period in his father's native Fiji) Rokobaro explains.
"It's one of the reasons I love being part of the Rebels. Adelaide
was similar to Melbourne in that there was a small rugby community, but a
very passionate one. In fact, I think that the smaller rugby communities
are sometimes even more passionate than the big ones on the Eastern side
of Australia, because everybody involved has to make a real effort to
support and watch the game.
"Even though I moved to Queensland, a lot of my closest mates are
from Adelaide and from the Rugby Union scene down there, so I understand
what it is like for everybody involved in rugby here in Victoria."
As the Melbourne Rebels really stamp their presence in this AFL-mad
state, and continue to expand the great game of Rugby Union into new
territory, it seems especially pertinent to have somebody with Rokobaro's
unique rugby union background featuring for the Rebels.
And if Friday night's debut was anything to go by, Rebels fans can get
excited about the opportunity to watch this Croweater shine on the big
stage for some time to come.
Height: 183cm, Weight: 91kg, Date Of Birth: 06/10/1989, Place of Birth:
Yasawa, Fiji, School - Westall Secondary College, Charity - Amy Gillett
Foundation, Club - Harlequin
RaboDirect Rebel Alex Rokobaro returns to Super Rugby after a
successful stint at French glamour club, Stade Francais.
Alex began playing Rugby Union in his hometown of Adelaide, where he
quickly became one of the state’s brightest young stars.
His young rugby journey took him to Brisbane, where he represented both
Australian and Queensland Schools.
Alex again moved, relocating to Sydney, where he won a Colts Premiership
for Sydney University as well as featuring in many of their grade
triumphs. His success was rewarded by NSW Waratahs selectors, when he was
drafted into their Academy system in 2010.
Alex is familiar with the Club’s ethos and coaching staff, having
played for the Rebel Rising in the foundation season, before taking up an
opportunity to play with Stade Francais in the French Top 14 and Amlin
Alex’s impressive form was rewarded when the Rebels signed the then 22
year old in the middle of 2012, on a two year contract.
Alex is of Fijian heritage - from the serene island village of Yasawa,
and has represented Fiji at under 20s level.
The classy left footer can player in every position in the back line,
although his form at Stade Francais would suggest that his preferred
position is fullback, where he scored two tries in 10 appearances.
Fiji A defeat Tongans in soggy Suva
May 18, 2008
The Fiji A side lifted their game in the second half to down their
Tongan counterparts 25-10 in heavy conditions at the National Stadium in
Suva on Saturday night. Locked 10-10 at the breather, Rayne Simpson’s
team showed an excellent level of fitness to dominate the latter parts of
the game and seal the win four tries to two.
“We’ve been working hard on our set pieces,” Simpson said
afterwards, “and I thought we controlled them well today, and that set
the platform for the win. The whole pack did a great job.” “The
plan was to keep it tight in these conditions but to go wide if we got the
The Tongans were first off the mark with a try to crafty right wing
Sione Sete. Fiji hit back with a penalty goal by fly-half Alex Rokobaro
from in front of the sticks, and were awarded a penalty try in the 31st
minute to give them a 10-3 lead. The Tongan backs combined well to conjure
up their second try from fullback Mateo Malupo to leave the sides level at
half-time. The second half clearly belonged to Fiji as halfback Vuga
Tagicakibau squeezed through to touch down on 51 minutes, then inside
centre John Stewart finished off a smart move through the middle to take
the score to 20-10. Fiji No.8 Samu Vunisa ran well off the back of
the scrum and made plenty of ground, and wing William Umu also produced
some impressive skills in the wet.
Having been held up twice in the in-goal area, the Fijians threw one
last move together but the Tongans ripped away possession and kicked
ahead. Fiji centre Isikeli Vuruna scooped up the ball 35 metres out and
forced his way past three tackles attempts before touching down in the
corner for a quite brilliant try to complete the scoring.
FIJI A: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Alipate Buto (William Saukuru 69), 13
Isikeli Vuruna, 12 John Stewart, 11 William Umu, 10 Alexander Rokobaro (Anare
Vakawaletabua 56), 9 Vuga Tagicakibau (Peni Rokodiva 56), 8 Samu Vunisa (Waqabaca
Kotobalavu 56), 7 Jese Cirikisuva, 6 Joseva Levula, 5 Tevita Tuiloa (Ofa
Unaloto 77), 4 Temo Vakaloloma, 3 Jeke Lalai (Manasa Saulo 77), 2 Saula
Qalomai (Seru Cakobau 77), 1 Serupepeli Qaranivalu. Coach: Rayne Simpson
Tries: Penalty try, Tagicakibau, Stewart, Vuruna; Conversion: Rokobaro;
Penalty goal: Rokobaro.
TONGA A: 15 Mateo Malupo, 14 Sione Sete (Feleti Hausa 65), 13 Viliami
Takai, 12 Patrick Maka, 11 Pauni Atiola (yellow card 63-72, Sione Hausia
74), 10 Mahe Fangupo, 9 Sekope Maea, 8 Casanova Kauvaka, 7 Inoke Taufa (Tevita
Molliteka 60), 6 Finau Tupa, 5 Tevita Taugi (Paula Kata 53), 4 Sapu Hehea,
3 Mosa Afu (Samiu Vea 72), 2 Tone Tuleufuka (Lepaola Tauveli 70), 1 Lonely
Kengike (Ikuna Manuofetou 41). Coach: Fe’ao Vakata Tries: Sete, Malupo.
Scoring sequence (Fiji’s scores shown first): 12min – TRY TONGA,
Sete; conversion Malupo (missed) – 0-5 17min – PEN GOAL FIJI, Rokobaro
(missed) – 0-5 20min – PEN GOAL FIJI, Rokobaro – 3-5 31min – PEN
TRY FIJI; conversion Rokobaro – 10-5 35min – TRY TONGA, Malupo;
conversion Malupo (missed) – 10-10 Half-time 52min – TRY FIJI,
Tagicakibau; conversion Rokobaro (missed) – 15-10 59min – TRY FIJI,
Stewart; conversion Murimurivalu (missed) – 20-10 63min – Yellow card
Tonga, Atiola 87min – TRY FIJI, Vuruna; conversion Murimurivalu (missed)
– 25-10 Full-time
From the Fiji Times Online:
Halves spearhead Fiji U20
RODNEY DUTHIE, Saturday, May 17, 2008
HALVES pair Vuga Tagicakibau and Alex Rokobaro will form a
pivotal combination for the Fiji under-20 side against their Tongan
counterparts at the National Stadium this evening. The two players, like
their teammates, are being groomed to be the future faces of the Flying
New Zealand-based Tagicakibau will start at halfback while
Rokobaro will control the game from the flyhalf's position. The team will
be led by former Marist Brothers High School student Jese Cirikisuva.
Fiji U20 coach Rayne Simpson said though the team to the
Junior World Championships has been finalized, there was still more work
to be done before they head to Wales. "So we are looking forward to
the three warm-up matches that are coming up," Simpson said. "We
feel this is a good chance for us to map out our best combinations and
iron out the loose bits before the World Championships."
The Fiji U20 will travel to Sydney to play Australia on
May 25 before they take on North Surburb Colts on May 28.
Fiji U20: 1 Serupepeli Qaranivalu, 2 Saula Qalomai, 3 Jeke
Lailai, 4 Temo Vakaloloma, 5 Tevita Tuiloa, 6 Joseva Levula/Waqabaca
Kotobalavu, 7 Jese Cirikisuva (capt), 8 Samuela Vunisa, 9 Vuga Tagicakibau
(v/capt), 10 Alex Rokobaro, 11 William Unu, 12 John Stewwart, 13 Sikeli
Vuruna, 14 Alipate Buto, 15 Kini Murimurivalu. Reserves: Seru Cakobau,
Manasa Saulo, Ofa Unaloto, Joseva Levula/Waqabaca Kotobalavu, Peni
Rokodiva, Anare Vakawaletabua, 22 William Saukuru.
From FijiLive Sports
Rokobaro enjoys drills at dunes
Fiji Times - Thursday, April 17, 2008
AUSTRALIA-based Alex Rokobaro is determined to make Fiji proud at the
International Rugby Board Junior World Cup in Wales in June. Rokobaro is
one of the eight overseas players roped in by coach Rayne Simpson to boost
Fiji's bid against the likes of Australia, England and Canada whom they
will face in pool play. The 18-year-old Marist College student was
spotted by Simpson in Australia.
Rokobaro said he didn't know what to expect before arriving in
Fiji. The utility got his first taste of the torrid training session
as the Junior Flying Fijians hit the sand dunes in Kulukulu in Sigatoka on
Tuesday. Rokobaro said training at the sand dunes was tough but
enjoyed every moment.
"It will definitely help in my fitness," quipped the
youngster. "My mother paid my air fare to get to Fiji. My
father Ben hails from Yasawa though I haven't been there. So when I first
came in I didn't know what to expect. However, things have turned out
The Junior Flying Fijians ended their training camp in Sigatoka
yesterday. According to Simpson there is still a lot of work to be done
ahead of the tournament in wales which kicks off on June 7. He said the
sand dune session was part of the team's building and conditioning
program. "Apart from the physical challenges, the other important
thing is to start team bonding," Simpson said.
"The fitness level of players is improving. However, there is a
need to put more work in between camps. I'm hopeful the boys will stick to
their training program out of camp." Simpson said the next camp
will be held in Suva starting on April 28.
Fiji will play England in on June 7 in Newport, meets Australia on June
11 and against Canada on June 11.
Fiji U20 squad:
Forwards-Saula Qalomai, Seru Tabaiwalu Cakobau, Penijamini Makutu,
Serupepeli Qaranivalu, Jeke Lalai , Manasa Saulo, Alexander Mar, Tevita
Tuiloa, Unaloto Ofa, Temo Vakaloloma Cama, Waqabaca Kotobalavu, Levula,
Jese Cirikisuva, Uraia Vecenadavui, Samu Vunisa, Sireli Kaloucava.
Backs: Peni Rokodiva, Vuga Tagicakibau, Alexander Rokobaro, Anare
Vakawaletabua, Kasami Natubavivi, John Stewart, Eroni Tara, Isikeli Vuruna,
Kolinio Vunaki, Venaia Navutovuto, Seremaia Tagicakibau, Henry Speight ,
William Umu, Pate Buto, Kini Murimurivalu, William Saukuru, and Sakiusa
Players input impresses Simpson
Thursday, February 14, 2008, Fiji Times Online
The five are Malakai Kaci, Alexander Rokobaro, Eroni Tava, Lai
Kaumaitotoya and Venaia Navutoto.
The young Flying Fijians broke camp yesterday after a hectic three days
training camp in Suva in preparation for the Junior World Cup to be played
in Wales in June. "They play at a higher level in Australia and
have bought in some new things to the team," Simpson said.
"They have adapted very well and I have been impressed.
"These overseas-based players have also been learning a lot from
their local counterparts."
The former Sharks coach was impressed with the fitness level of the
players and said it showed the youngsters were being honest in following
their training programs. "We have been working on a lot of
basics and one of the main areas is passing which we have been trying to
get the players well adjusted to," he said. "This is an
important facet of play. We are 60 per cent where we wanted to be and by
the start of the tournament we will be right where we want to be."
Simpson was to have named 42 players in the Elite Development Squad
last night who will come back into camp next month. Following that
there will be two more camps in April before the team gets together in
The side will play a one off Test against Tonga on May 17 in Lautoka
before leaving for Australia.
While there, two matches against North's and Sydney University will be
played before the side leaves for Wales.
Fiji is pooled with Australia, England and Canada for the June 6-22
Overseas-based players, Alexander Rokobaro, left, Eroni Tava, Malakai Kaci
and Lai Kaumaitotoya during an U20 training session at Buckhurst Park.