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Fiji Time: 6:12 AM on Saturday 19 April

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7s stars visit village

Emoni Narawa
Saturday, January 18, 2014

WATCHING their stars play touch rugby at their home ground brought joy to the people of Namatakula Village in Nadroga.

The village which is situated on the Coral Coast is known for producing great rugby superstars such as Noa Nadruku, Lote Tuqiri, Tevita Kuridrani, Isimeli Batibasaga, Peniasi Damu, Fiji Bati rugby league stars Alipate and Kaliova Tani and many others. And yesterday, the villagers watched their Fiji national sevens gladiators play touch rugby at the Ratu Filise Memorial School grounds.

Led by Fiji sevens coach, Ben Ryan, whose body language spoke volumes of how he enjoyed the short moment he spent with the Namatakula villagers said he enjoyed the moment.

Ryan walked around the ground, shaking hands and greeting the villagers, irrespective of their ages.

The warm Fijian smile on the faces of the people when they greeted Ryan, team manager Paula Biu and the players will be a moment to cherish and one that will be much talked about among the villagers leading up to the HSBC Sevens World Series in Las Vegas and Wellington.

Boys from the village had a privilege of playing alongside some of their national stars such Osea Kolinisau, Samisoni Viriviri, Levani Botia, Benito Masilevu, Donasio Ratubuli and the other members of the Fiji 7s team.

Team manager Paula Biu said they were pleased with the support of the community.

"This is an FRU community outreach, we're trying to reach out to the community to the public despite our tight training schedule," Biu said.

He said they would continue visiting other communities in the future.

"The community and the public are the stakeholders of the rugby in Fiji and we're happy to reach out to them and we will be doing more of this in the future.

"Namatakula is a well-known village that has produced international stars."

He said this was a good way to build their fan base and a perfect way to promote sevens rugby in the country.