The forward broke into Fiji’s outstanding sevens team in late 2021

Who is Elia Canakaivata: Ten things you should know about the Fiji sevens player

Elia Canakaivata broke into the Fiji sevens team after their gold medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A strong carrier who does not lack the game’s more intricate skills, his talents nearly eluded Fiji after tragedy struck his family.

Ten things you should know about Elia Canakaivata

1. Elia Canakaivata was born on 12 July 1996. He was brought up in Navunisole, a village in the Tailevu province of Fiji.

2. He played flanker for Northland in Fiji’s provincial 15-a-side competition before being part of the Fiji squad at the 2017 Central Coast Sevens.

3. A physical presence, Canakaivata combines bruising ball-carrying with skilful offloads to capitalise on the space available in sevens. He is also a turnover threat at the breakdown.

4. Canakaivata made his World Sevens Series debut in Dubai in November 2021 and scored his first try at the Singapore Sevens the following April.

Elia Canakaivata in Singapore

Canakaivata in action in Singapore (Getty Images)

5. He has served in his country’s army and has played for its sevens team.

6. He also won his first Sevens Series title in Singapore, as Fiji defeated New Zealand in the final.

7. Canakaivata dedicated his 2021 call-up to his father and elder brother, who died following a road accident in Fiji the previous December.

8. He considered giving up rugby after his family was rocked by their tragic losses, but revealed that encouragement from his mother motivated him to keep playing.

9. Canakaivata scored a try in the Toulouse Sevens final against Ireland to help Fiji win the tournament.

Elia Canakaivata making a tackle

Canakaivata is a serious physical presence (Getty Images)

10. He was selected for the Oceania Rugby Super Sevens in June 2022, as Fiji head coach Ben Gollings aimed to use the tournament to develop his evolving squad.

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