WHEN Derek Derenalagi meets the Vodafone Fiji Bati team next week, his message to the players will be to "play your hearts out and be proud of the Fiji colours".
The former British soldier, who has represented Britain at the 2012 London Paralympics, has been chosen to be the Fiji Bati ambassador in the Rugby League World Cup which starts at the end of this month in England.
Derenalagi, who was born and bred in Namaka, Nadi, said he was approached in June this year to be the ambassador at the RLWC.
The 39-year-old war hero said he would meet the team in Rochdale next week on Wednesday during an official launch hosted by the mayor of the town.
Fiji will play its opening match against Ireland on October 28 in Rochdale.
The national side arrived in London on Tuesday and are billeted at Catterick in North Yorkshire, England.
"It's a great honour for me and my wife to be given the role of the ambassador in the Rugby League World Cup," Derenalagi told this newspaper from England last night.
"The Fiji Bati made an impact in the 2008 World Cup where they reached the semi-finals and my message to the players will be to go up another level in this World Cup to impact the Fijians back home and across the globe."
Fiji National Rugby League general manager and Fiji Bati media liaison officer Tomi Finau said the team was acclimatising to the conditions.
He said Eloni Vunakece, who was playing in France, joined the team in London.
"We are in one of the coldest areas in United Kingdom. It's seven degrees Celsius here in Catterick and it's a good experience for the team," Finau said.
"The idea is to get acclimatised to the conditions here first. The players are recovering well from the long travel."
Fiji will play Australia in its second match on November 2 before taking on England in its final pool match on November 9.