Consistency and self-belief

IT’S now all systems go for coach Iliesa Tanivula and the Fijianas after qualifying as one of the core teams for the 2014/15 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

We won the qualifiers in Hong Kong after beating France 24-19 on Saturday night to confirm our spot in the upcoming series.

It sets the stage for our entry into a competition involving the best teams from around the world, effectively ensuring our women are exposed to the highest level of competition in the lead up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

That is a positive thing for the development of women’s rugby in Fiji.

Fiji Rugby Union chairman Filimone Waqabaca said the qualification brought much joy and encouragement for Rugby House.

He was already raising the line “Next stop Rio”, in the wake of the victory.

FRU CEO Radrodro Tabualevu believes the achievement was a timely reminder that diligence and perseverance reaped rewards.

He said the commitment of the Fijianas was “refreshing and uplifting”.

Tanivula was obviously on cloud nine, hailing this as a milestone achievement.

He hopes our qualification as a core nation in the series will raise the profile of women’s rugby in Fiji.

Obviously this achievement is huge not only for the Fijiana. It is a historic moment for the development of the sport in Fiji and hopefully should serve as a motivational factor for every woman interested in playing sevens rugby.

As we now gear up for the new season which gets underway in Dubai on December 4 and 5, Tanivula will no doubt set targets with a mind to get us through the series. The Dubai event will be followed by Brazil in February, the US in March, Canada in April, England in May and the Netherlands at the end of May.

Saturday’s victory will no doubt raise the profile of the sport of women’s rugby in Fiji and hopefully break barriers.

For starters, it will raise awareness of the standard of our female ruggers and their place in international level sevens rugby.

No more can we shrug aside our women when we talk about rugby. They deserve the highest accolades and financial support to raise our game to the next level.

For far too long they have played in the shadows so to speak. Now that we have qualified to mix it with the big guns of the sport on the international platform, the Fijianas deserve our support and gratitude.

The biggest challenge Tanivula has now is probably to maintain our standards, nurture self-belief and to maintain consistency at the highest level of the sport. Go Fiji, go.