THE loss of one of their players will motivate the Ratu Sukuna Memorial Secondary School under-17 rugby side in the national quarter-finals next week.
Form Five student Jovilisi Qoroya passed away last Friday when he failed to recover from a spinal injury he sustained during training three weeks ago.
The loss was used to inspire the team in their 22-5 victory over Marist Brothers' High School in the final of the Southern Zone Secondary School Rugby under-17 competition last Saturday.
Team coach Ravuama Naceba said they came to know of Qoroya's passing away a day before the zone finals.
He said the team spirit was down even before taking to the field against MBHS.
"I went to the team them and told them to win the southern zone under-17 title to honour Jovilisi and to dedicate the win to him," Naceba said.
Qoroya was part of the school's U15 and U16 teams for the past two years. During the final, his teammates wore black armbands to pay tribute to Qoroya and they did the same during the memorial service held at the school yesterday.
Naceba said they would continue to remember Qoroya and use his loss to inspire the team to do well in the national competition.
"He (Qoroya) was so eager to play and when he was not in the team, he would follow the team around.
"I would like to ask the families of the under-17 to release the players so they can play in the quarter-final next week.
"Release them so they can play for Jovilisi and dedicate their games to him," Naceba said.