What keeps ‘The Bus’ Moving
MANY Fiji locals refer to him as Josua ‘The Bus’ Tuisova and in France he is regarded the ‘human bulldozer’ because of his ability to bulldoze his way through opponents with unmatched physicality on the rugby field. Josua Tuisova Ratulevu, the 23 year old Votua villager from Ba, plays wing or centre for the Flying Fijians. He currently plays for the Toulonnais Rugby Club in France where he is based. “I have been playing for Toulonnais in France for four years now and have another three years to go,” Tuisova said. In the recent game between the Flying Fijians and Scotland that Fiji won, 27 points to 22 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, fans were on the lookout for The Bus. They watched him make some bone crunching tackles while positioned as wing. Fans could be heard going ‘boom!’ every time Tuisova, who weighs 108 kilograms, tackled an opponent. It was evident many fans were there to witness The Bus in action. A former student of Xavier College in Ba, Tuisova said he had played soccer all his life since primary school at Votua. “I have always been a soccer freak because I grew up in the soccer mad town of Ba and playing rugby was far from my mind.” Going to town most Saturdays to watch the rugby tournament held at Ba Market Grounds, Tuisova had a change of heart for the oval ball game. Like some people who catch on quickly just by seeing how things are done, after all those Saturdays being a spectator at the grounds made it an easy switch for Tuisova. He began his rugby career in Fiji playing for top local 7s side Westfield Barbarians in Nadi, which was captained by his older brother and former Fiji 7s player Pio Tuwai. He made his international debut for Fiji in the 2013 Wellington 7s playing against Scotland as a rover. Tuisova has also won an Olympic Gold medal as part of the Fiji 7s team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Despite having to live and train abroad, Tuisova always has the heart to represent Fiji when he gets the chance to do so. “I will never forget my homeland no matter where I am in the world. Fiji will always be home – where I grew up and had my humble beginning,” Tuisova said. He holds on tight to the fact that his beginnings in Fiji are the reason behind his success.
In reality an extremely shy person, maiLife had to convince The Bus to agree to an interview when we travelled miles to reach his home in Namosau, Ba. Tuisova strove hard to purchase the family home for his parents - Dad Isikeli Ratulevu and Mum Lusia Vodo – to live, along with his two nieces, while he works and lives abroad. His Mum thanked God for blessing three of his four sons with rugby talent. “I never dreamt rugby would take them this far,” Mrs Ratulevu said. Tuisova’s elder brothers are Pio Tuwai, who now lives in New Zealand and Filipo Nakosi, who plays rugby in France. Tuisova has another older brother, Timoci, and an older sister, Salanieta. Like many great sportsmen who have had an icon to inspire them, The Bus never had to look far. “I have always looked up to Vereniki Goneva, who currently plays for Newscastle Falcons in the English Premiership Rugby Championship back in the United Kingdom,” Tuisova said. “I used to watch Goneva play when I was young and I admired his humility. Goneva also represented Fiji in two rugby world cups in 2011 and 2015, so he is a great player.” Tuisova got to play against his idol Goneva during the Marist 7s tournament in 2013. “He played for Yamacia while I played for Westfield Barbarians and I was nervous during this match,” Tuisova said. But leading up to the Flying Fijians’ match against Italy and Scotland in June, Tuisova and Goneva were in the same squad. “I felt really good to train with Goneva as he teaches me a lot,” he said.
“Too bad we didn’t get a chance to play together because Goneva played during the match against Italy and I didn’t and then I got to play against Scotland and he was resting.” The game against Scotland on June 24 was Tuisova’s debut match for Fiji in the 15’s code. “I felt really proud being part of the Flying Fijians for these test matches – and most importantly we won both home games.” On his recent trip home in June, Tuisova tied the knot with his sweetheart Tarusila Ravouvou in a civil ceremony that caught many of his fans off guard – they found out on social media. Tarusila who is from Saunaka in Nadi revealed she met The Bus during his days playing rugby for Westfield Barbarians. Full of humour and with a bubbly personality, Tarusila said they started out as friends and their relationship developed from that. “Tuisova is a very shy person and he proposed to me through social media by writing a very romantic piece on Facebook messenger and that got to me – I just had to say yes,” she said. Tuisova has since returned to France with his wife Tarusila.
Josua ‘the bus’ Tuisova in Namosau, Ba.
Josua Tuisova, his mum Lusia, his Dad Isikeli and his older brother Filipo Nakosi at their home in Vutuni, Ba during one of his recent visit.
Tuisova posing at the Ba Bus Stand. Tuisova relaxing in Vutuni, Ba.
Tuisova and his older brother Filipo Nakosi at their home in Vutuni, Ba.