THE New Zealand Samoan Sevens Women's team is in the country for a two-match tour and ooking to build cultural relations between the three different communities.
The side, formed two years ago, is made up of former Manu Sina (Samoan national 7s team) reps and New Zealand Samoans living in New Zealand and Australia and former national Samoan rugby league players.
They meet the Fiji Development women's team today at the Uprising Beach Resort grounds in Pacific Harbour and the Fiji 'A' team on November 8 at Buckhurst Park in Suva.
Team coach Nick Bakulich told Times Sport they also have the services of former Kiwi Ferns (New Zealand national rugby league team) captain Luisa Avaiki.
He said Fiji was their first choice for their first-ever tour because of the abundance of talent here. "I have been to Fiji a few times before and I have seen the passion Fijians have for rugby, even women and they are equally good at it on the field," said the Manukau Rovers coach.
"Also it's because of the cultural element, we are bringing Kiwi and Samoan culture to mix with the Fijian culture here.
"This sort of tour for games not only brings about healthy on-field rivalry but it also strengthens the ties between communities."
Bakulich said he expected tough competition from the Fijian side and this would be a good learning experience for his girls.
"This is the way forward for some girls, tough matches like these give them the experience and knowledge to further their career in the sport," he said.
National women's coach Elenoa Kunatuba told the Fiji Rugby Union website time constraints prevented her from conducting trials for the tour.
"We were not able to hold any trials for the two teams. Instead, players were selected through their performance throughout the year from the Marist Seahawks, Bluez, Rickets and Striders clubs," she told fijirugby.com.
"The Fijiana 7s team will not be part of this team, we have picked players from the four different clubs who have just completed their 15s competition," Kunatuba said.
Today's match kicks off at 4pm.