A GROUP of unemployed youths at Navau settlement in Ba have turned the sport of rugby into an employment opportunity.
The players make up the core of the Lomavata 7s team that has been participating in the series of Lomavata and Gaunavou 7s tournaments in Lautoka and Ba. The series goes into its sixth leg this weekend.
Team official Joji Tuivaga said most of the players had failed to secure permanent employment and this prompted them to try out rugby.
Tuivaga said rugby was a major income source for many Fijian players around the globe.
"Most of these boys have completed their education but failed to secure employment," said Tuivaga.
"The success of Fijian players earning huge dollars in Europe and other parts of the world has inspired these boys to fully utilise their rugby talent.
"This is the first year that these boys have been exposed to tough and competitive games and it seems they've adapted well to the challenges."
Tuivaga said another reason for involving these youths with rugby was to combat criminal activities in their residential area.
"Rugby has changed the lives of these boys and they're been dedicated to the sport.
"The side has performed consistently in tournaments and we are looking forward to seeing an even better performance this weekend.
"Rugby has led to the decrease in criminal activities now that these boys are committed to daily training except Sunday."
Tuivaga said the rugby training had also helped the players improve their health.
The side will compete at a Gaunavou 7s leg in Ba this weekend.