ALL roads led to Laucala to witness the first international sporting match a day after the new National Sports Complex (now the National Stadium) was officially opened on May 18, 1979.
The rugby Test featured the Arthur Jennings-coached Fiji against New Zealand Maori.
The focus was not only on rugby but the new sporting arena also.
"Let us never forget that it is the sport and the people who count far more than the facilities, so that we must beware against getting our priorities wrong," the then prime minister, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara said in his official opening address.
"This is a great day for sport in Fiji and for the young people in the country.
"I say this because sport and youth play a special part in bringing together the different races of our people."
And come they did from all walks of life. Some 25,000 plus fans packed the complex to witness our rugby heroes do battle against the tough Maori.
There were some athletics races held on the new track before the rugby. It was a special day and the fans were given some special entertainment.
Fiji had named a powerful side to try and make the occasion even better with a win. There were two new faces in the run-on team. Young lock Rabici Ganilau and wing Taniela Nayate.
Pio Bosco Tikoisuva at stand-off was the captain. The other backs were Kadavu's Kemueli Musunamasi (fullback), Joape Kuinikoro (wing), Nayate, Nadroga's Senitiki Nasave (centre), Stallion Wame Gavidi (second) and other Nadrogan Isimeli Batibasaga (halfback).
In the forwards were vice-captain and number eight Isikeli Cagilaba from Ba, the flankers, Lautoka's Viliame Ratudradra (7) and Nadroga's Rupeni Qaraniqio (6). The locks were Ganilau and Naitasiri's Nasoni Uluvula, the props Rewa's Jo Rauto and Nimilote Ratudina, who my colleague Anare Ravula remembers as kai Beqa. The hooker was Naitasiri's Antonio Racika.
The Maori dominated the first-half but failed to breach the Fijian line. Inside centre Stuart Semenoff kicked four penalties for his side's 12 points but it was the Fijians who scored the first try.
A cross kick by Batibasaga wasn't taken well by the opposition defence. They lost the ball and scooping it up and running away to score was flanker Ratudradra. Fiji trailed 4-12 at the break.
The Maori kicked one penalty to make it 15-4 but just when it looked we were going to lose, the Fijians weaved their magic.
Two penalties to Batibasaga and one drop goal to Tikoisuva took scores to 13-15. It was all to play for in the last seven minutes.
The crowd got behind the Fijians, but a blunder by Batibasaga gave the game away.
Fiji had a lineout close to their line. The ball was won and went into the hands of the scrumhalf who somehow dropped the ball and there to pick it and score was Maori's Frank Walters for a 19-13 victory.
This was the first major sporting game held at the then new National Sports Complex.