Seru Rabeni

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Seru Rabeni
Seru Rabeni 2007.jpg
South Africa vs Fiji during 2007 Rugby World Cup
Birth nameRatu Seru Rabeni
Date of birth(1978-12-27)27 December 1978
Place of birth Bua, Fiji
Date of death15 March 2016(2016-03-15) (aged 37)
Place of deathNausori, Fiji
Height188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight106 kg (16 st 10 lb; 234 lb)
SchoolNadi District, Ratu Kadavulevu, Lautoka Teachers
University Otago University
Notable relative(s) Rupeni Caucaunibuca (cousin)
SpouseSusan Macdonald
ChildrenAyami Rabeni
Occupation(s)Rugby Player & Coach
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre, Wing
Senior career
La Rochelle




Super Rugby
2003–04 Highlanders 11 (15)
National team(s)
Pacific Islanders
National sevens team(s)
1998–2002 Fiji 13

Ratu Seru Rabeni (27 December 1978 – 15 March 2016) was a Fijian rugby union player. He played as a centre or wing.

Fiji Country in Oceania

Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The most outlying island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760. The capital, Suva, on Viti Levu, serves as the country's principal cruise-ship port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry—or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount. Due to its terrain, the interior of Viti Levu is sparsely inhabited.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.


Rabeni was renowned in both club and international level for his physicality and bone crunching tackles, earning him the nickname "Rambo". [1]


Early career

Rabeni was born and raised in Bua, Fiji, and played rugby union since his early schooldays at Ratu Kadavulevu School. He first played provincial rugby for Lautoka in 1998–99 while studying at Lautoka Teachers College, before moving on to the capital's club Suva in 2000. Rabeni made his Sevens debut in Dubai in 1998, playing in two Hong Kong Sevens tournaments. He played at both U21 and U23 level for Fiji before making his test debut in May 2000 against Japan in Tokyo during the Epson Cup tournament. An ankle injury saw him miss the remainder of the tournament.

Bua Province province of Fiji

Bua is one of fourteen provinces of Fiji. Located in the west of the northern island of Vanua Levu, it is one of three northern provinces, and has a land area of 1,379 square kilometers. Its population at the 2017 census was 15,466, making it the fifth least-populous Province.

Ratu Kadavulevu School is a school in Lodoni, Fiji. It has some 900 students and is one of the largest boarding schools in the country. Its students are multiracial, but predominantly Indigenous Fijians.

Rugby sevens ballgame-team sport

Rugby sevens, and originally known as seven-a-side rugby, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players playing seven minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40 minute halves. Rugby sevens is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific.

In 2001, Rabeni took up a three-year degree course at the University of Otago, New Zealand, and the following year played 7 games for Otago in the National Provincial Championship before gaining a Super 12 contract with Highlanders for whom he played a dozen games over the 2003 and 2004 season.

University of Otago university in New Zealand

The University of Otago is a collegiate university based in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. It scores highly for average research quality, and in 2006 was second in New Zealand only to the University of Auckland in the number of A-rated academic researchers it employs. In the past it has topped the New Zealand Performance Based Research Fund evaluation.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Otago Rugby Football Union

The Otago Rugby Football Union is the official governing body of rugby union for the Otago region of New Zealand. The union is based in the city of Dunedin, and its home ground is Forsyth Barr Stadium. The top representative team competes in the ITM Cup, New Zealand's top provincial competition. The union was to have been liquidated in March 2012. However a deal involving the Dunedin City Council allowed it to keep operating.


Rabeni signed for English club Leicester Tigers shortly after being named in the Pacific Islanders squad. [2] Rabeni scored 12 tries in 39 appearances, but suffered from knee injuries throughout his time at Welford Road, leading to him missing a season. He was also banned for 14 weeks for gouging Saracens player Andy Kyriacou in April 2008. [3]

Leicester Tigers English rugby union club

Leicester Tigers is an English professional rugby union club based in Leicester, England. They play in Premiership Rugby, England's top division of rugby.

In 2009 he was signed up by fellow Guinness Premiership team Gloucester on a 3-year deal. [4] However, in August the deal fell through when he failed a medical. [5] After this move fell through, he signed for newcomers Leeds Carnegie. [6]

In 2010 he signed for French newcomers in Top 14 Stade Rochelais. Rabeni's final professional rugby signing was Stade Montois for the 2012–13 season when they were promoted to the Top 14.


Rabeni toured New Zealand with Fiji in 2002, and the same year played Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. He appeared for Fiji Sevens in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

In 2003 Rabeni toured with the national side to South America, scoring a try in the 41–16 victory over Chile in Santiago.

In 2004 Rabeni played in all three games for the newly formed Pacific Islanders, scoring a try against New Zealand in Albany and 2 conversions against South Africa in Gosford. Rabeni played for the Pacific Islanders numerous times and was one of a few players to go on every tour, in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He scored 3 tries and 2 conversions.

Rabeni started all four of Fiji's pool games in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, playing at centre in the games against France and the USA in Brisbane, Japan in Townsville and Scotland in Sydney.

Rabeni represented Fiji in the 2007 World Cup in France playing in all 4 Pool B games and the quarterfinals. He demonstrated his tackling ability against Australia, injuring two of their players. [7] He was also instrumental in the Pool B decider helping Fiji beat Wales 38–34 and reach the quarterfinals for the 2nd time since 1987. He ended the cup with only one try, against Japan in their opening game.

Coaching career

During the summer 2013, Rabeni moved to the United States to become an Assistant Coach for the college rugby team of Lindenwood University in Saint Louis, Missouri. [8]

In September 2014, Rabeni then moved to Hong Kong to be with his life partner, Susan Macdonald, and daughter, Ayami Rabeni, [9] where he was focusing on completing his Masters in Sports Marketing & Business Management (distance learning with UCLan, UK) that led to the Head Coach position of the Discovery Bay Pirates focusing on youth (U13s to U19s) and was set as a player coach for the Pirates Championship team. [10] He was to work alongside Craig Hammond of Hong Kong Scottish where he would have likewise played for this premiership team. [11]

Hong Kong National League

In 2014–2015 season, Rabeni was Head Coach/Player for Hong Kong's largest rugby club DB Pirates 1st and 2nd XV. His last professional appearance in March 2015 was with the Hong Kong Scottish Exiles in the HK Rugby 10s reaching the Cup Semi Finals. For the 2015–16 season, DB Pirates set-up a Chief Rugby Officer position for Rabeni sponsored by HKRFU with comments in the HK rugby community that he was on track to become HK's next National Coach. Rabeni visited Fiji in June 2015 to try and qualify for the World Cup one last time. [12] Unfortunately, he was delayed in returning to Hong Kong to take up the HKRFU position due to ongoing financial issues with his own transport business in Fiji. His tragic and unexpected passing coincided with the week he planned to return to Hong Kong where he had lined up corporate speaking events for the 2016 HK Rugby 7s.


In the morning of 15 March 2016, Rabeni suddenly died while having breakfast at his home in Nausori, Fiji. The cause of death was heart failure (suspected viral cardiomyopathy). Rabeni developed flu symptoms and shortness of breath from December 2015, but brushed off his symptoms as just flu. [13] [14]

See also

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  1. "Highlanders former Fijian centre Seru Rabeni dies". Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  2. "Tigers sign Fijian Rabeni". 17 June 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. "Rabeni loses eye-gouging appeal". 10 April 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  4. "Rabeni completes Gloucester move". 20 April 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  5. "Rabeni's Gloucester move stopped". 14 August 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  6. "Leeds capture Fijian back Rabeni". 4 September 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  7. "Seru Rabeni wrecks Barnes and Staniforth". RugbyDump. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Seru Rabeni was set to become more involved with Hong Kong rugby and open Fiji academy before untimely death". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  14. Mark Fleming (15 March 2016). "Fiji rugby star Seru 'Rambo' Rabeni dies of suspected heart attack aged just 37". Retrieved 16 March 2016.