Goneva in 2014
5 April 1984 |
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||102 kg (16 st 1 lb; 225 lb)|
|Position||Wing, Centre, Fullback|
|As of 20 February 2017|
Vereniki Goneva (born 5 April 1984 in Lautoka, Fiji) is a Fijian rugby footballer. He played as a centre or wing for Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership having previously made his debut in English rugby for Rotherham against Northampton Saints in the RFU Championship in the 2007-2008 season. In March 2016, he signed for the Newcastle Falcons.
He was first spotted by the Fiji sevens coach, Waisale Serevi playing as a wing for Nadi in the Digicel Cup competition and he was impressed by his workrate and included him in the 2007-08 IRB Sevens World Series and he made his debut in the 2nd leg, George Sevens where Fiji lost in the cup final to New Zealand. He had interest in power lifting stating that it had an impact on his powerful style of play. In the same year he played in the Colonial Cup for the Western Crusaders team but lost in the finals to Coastal Stallions. He was selected into the Fiji Barbarians team for the 2007 Pacific Rugby Cup though the team wasn't able to make the semis, his impressive runs continued and after making his debut for the Fiji sevens team, he jetted off to Rotherham Titans. After a short stint, he came back and rejoined the sevens team. He co-captained the team in the Wellington and San Diego leg. after the 2009 season, he joined the Fiji 15's team for the 2009 IRB Pacific Nations Cup where he was instrumental in the win against Samoa, coming off the bench and scoring the match-winning try and against Japan where he set up the match-winning try to Number 8, Netani Talei. He later got an offer which he took, to play in the French Pro D2 competition for US Colomiers. He was included in the 30-member Fiji squad for the 2009 Autumn Internationals
Goneva was included in the Fiji team for the 2011 IRB Pacific Nations Cup. After a successful outing, he was selected in the 22 to play the All Blacks in Dunedin. He came off the bench and scored an outstanding individual try. He was later selected to play against Tonga in the Punjas Rugby series. He was selected into the Fiji team to the 2011 Rugby World Cup and he made his world cup debut on the right wing for Fiji against Namibia. He scored 4 tries and won the Man of the Match award as well.
He played rugby in the ProD2 for Tarbes between 2008 and 2011 and was named best centre in 2012 in the ProD2.
In May 2012, he signed a contract to join Aviva Premiership team Leicester Tigers. Goneva claimed that the only reason he chose to play for the Tigers was because their Rugby director, Richard Cockerill personally flew to France just to speak to him regarding him joining the club.
He scored a try on debut against London Welsh in the 2012–13 English Premiership. He scored a try in as well as setting one up for his other winger in the 2012–13 English Premiership Final helping his team win the title. Even though he was injured for most of the season, he played 11 games for them and scored 5 tries.
In the 2013–14 English Premiership; in his first game against Worcester Warriors, he scored a stunning individual try to give him team a bonus-point win, a week later, he started at his preferred position at 13 and scored another brilliant try against Bath but it wasn't enough as the Tigers lost but Goneva's try secured them a bonus-point loss. He started at outside centre again in their game against the Chiefs due to a long term injury to their incumbent centre, Manu Tuilagi, scoring a try late in the first half, his performance got him the Man of the Match award as well.
In March 2014, he scored 2 brilliant tries against Newcastle taking his tally to 10 for the season which has led to discussion by the club to try to hold on to Goneva for another season as he is in talks to return to France with Top 14 side, Castres.
In April 2014, he re-signed with the Tigers for another two season.
In the 2015–16 European Rugby Champions Cup, he scored a try in every game finishing with 6 tries in 5 matches in the Knock-out round making him the competition's top try scorer alongside Thomas Waldrom.
In March 2016, Goneva signed a contract with Newcastle Falcons.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign Vereniki Goneva from Leicester". Sky Sports. 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- Rattue, Chris (11 September 2011). "Rugby: Goneva four-try hero for Fiji". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Leicester Tigers complete deal for wing Vereniki Goneva
- Hewett, Chris (28 September 2013). "Aviva Premiership: The invasion of South Seas players". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Premiership: London Welsh 13–38 Leicester Tigers, BBC News
- "Goneva shines in Tigers triumph". Wirral News. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Aviva Premiership – Bath 27–20 Leicester: Bath too good for old foes Leicester – Live Rugby Match Pack". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Goneva inspires Leicester win". Planet Rugby. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- "Leicester Tigers fight to keep hold of try-scoring sensation Niki Goneva". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Cockerill delighted to keep Goneva". Planet Rugby. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- "Vereniki Goneva, George Ford and Mike Brown scoop prizes at RPA awards party". Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Leicester cruise past Newcastle". Planet Rugby. Retrieved 7 September 2014.