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War hero helps out

Arin Kumar
Thursday, May 09, 2013

THE national team has turned to a war hero for inspiration ahead of the England 7s in London this weekend.

British Army soldier Derek Derenalagi has been invited to motivate the team in their preparations following an early exit at the Scotland 7s tournament last week.

The national side went down to England 12-15 in the cup quarter-finals and then to USA 5-22 in the plate semi-finals.

Derenalagi, who is a double amputee after losing his legs in a 2007 bomb blast in Afghanistan, told Times Sport from London that he went to see the team when they arrived in London.

"I am so thankful to the manager and coach of Fiji for giving me time to say a few words of encouragement to the Fiji team," he said.

"I have been asked by the coach to motivate the team throughout the week and also during the two-day tournament in Twickenham."

He said he talked to the team about not giving up and to move on from their loss in Scotland.

"Failure and losing is all part of life because in life, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

"Losing is not the end, it is the part where you discover where you went wrong and it is a chance for you to start again and improve on that wrong."

The British Paralympic said the Fiji 7s team and its coaching panel should not be blamed for the loss because it was part and parcel of the HSBC Sevens World Series.

"Sevens rugby has grown a lot and the series has become very tough. Teams are travelling all over the world and it's something that takes a lot of getting used to.

"The weather was really cold in Scotland but here in London it's getting warmer because it was 20 degrees Celsius on Monday and today (Tuesday) its 22 degrees Celsius and the boys are getting used to it," he said.

The Setefano Cakau-skippered side will face England at 9.58pm on Saturday, Argentina at 2.40am on Sunday followed by the Samoa game at 4.03am.





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