THE Nacula rugby 7s team from Yasawa is optimistic of winning the Turtle Vodafone Nacula 7s tournament which will be staged at Ratu Meli Memorial School ground in Nacula, Yasawa, this weekend.
Laced with village youths and hotel workers, the players have been camping on the island for the past three weeks in their effort to win the $3000 prizemoney on offer.
Team manager Kemueli Nabilavou said the players had been urged to play their hearts out, not only to win the top award but also to convince national 7s coach Ben Ryan that they're capable of making the national 7s training squad.
Ryan was invited by tournament officials as one of the guests at the two-day tournament. The national coach had earlier said he would try and identify untapped talent in the islands to possibly join the national training squad.
Nabilavou said Ryan's presence would be a morale-booster for his troops.
"We have set our target to win the tournament and the players have been camping for the past three weeks to fulfil our goal," he said.
"The boys have also been told to make use of the tournament and to convince Ben Ryan of their availability for a spot in the national 7s training squad.
"Some of these boys have been exposed to big tournaments in the mainland and they know exactly what is required of them to win the tournament.
"The players are eagerly waiting to show their worth."
Nabulivou has also acknowledged the commitment shown by Ryan to be part of the Nacula 7s.
"We are grateful to have Ryan for this tournament.
"This tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players to showcase their skills under the watchful eyes of the national 7s coach.
"I think this will be also the first time for any national coach to come to our shores and we thank him for accepting the invitation."
The tournament kicks off on Friday.