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Brothers join sevens squad

Maciu Malo
Monday, March 10, 2014

FROM the canefields to big-time rugby, the Wardens' golden brothers Waisea Nacuqu and Setefano Rasekaia were lost for words after their names were announced in the 18-member national Vodafone 7s squad to prepare for the HSBC Japan and Hong Kong 7s tournaments.

The duo scored a try each to help the Wardens Gold defeat Police to win the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s at the ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Born and bred in the cane fields of Votua in Ba, the brothers never imagined achieving such a huge milestone for their family by being selected in the national 7s squad.

After dropping out of school few years ago, the brothers joined other village men in cutting cane to earn money for their family.

In their free time, they join the other boys in the hood playing touch rugby. From those touch rugby sessions the brothers have formed a formidable combination that has taken them out of the cane fields.

Their combination captured the eyes of few coaches which resulted in them being recruited by Westfield Tokatoka Babas before being snatched up by Western Wardens then Wardens Gold.

In an interview with Times Sports yesterday, the brothers were lost for words when asked about their selection in the national 7s squad.

In fact, Nacuqu has already represented the country in the IRB 7s series but for the 20-year-old playmaker, he said the feeling of having his older brother in the same Fiji team is just incredible.

He said he never imagined he would be selected along with his brother for national duties.

"It was an emotional moment for me when our names were announced by 7s coach Ben Ryan to prepare for the Hong Kong and IRB 7s tournaments," he said.

"It is hard to believe knowing what we endured during our days in the village.

"I never believed that from the cane fields we would assembled here among Fiji's best 7s players.

"This is a huge achievement for our family and I thank the Almighty Lord for his blessing and guidance."

Twenty-four-year-old Rasekaia echoed similar sentiments, saying he never believed he would be playing alongside his little brother in the national team.

The Wardens Gold halfback shed tears of joy after he was selected to join his brother, adding it would be a moment to cherish after the hard experiences of village life.

"I could not control my emotions as I shed tears of happiness after our selection," said Rasekaia.

"We are both school dropouts and the only option to earn money for the family is by cutting cane.

"Our parents are unemployed and the reason we choose to cut cane is to earn money for the family.

"But I am grateful to the Almighty Lord for giving us the opportunity to use our rugby talent to improve the our family's welfare."

The brothers said the battle to be in the final team was not over; they had to review their goals to make the final 12-member team for the Asian HSBC IRB 7s leg.

"The battle has just begun, now the challenge is to fight for our spot against our fellow Fiji 7s teammates to make the final cut to Japan and Hong Kong," said Nacuqu.

"We are determined to conquer the obstacles ahead of us and achieve a milestone for our family."

The presence of their first cousin Pio Tuwai in the 18-member team will help inspire these Votua brothers to fulfil their dreams.

Nacuqu and Rasekaia are set into the footsteps of former Fijian brothers and stars that have represented the country in 7s rugby such as the Rauluni brothers (Meli, Vesi, Vili), Alifereti Dere and Pauliasi Tabulutu and Waisea Nayacalevu and Avenisi Vasuinubu to name a few.

The duo could also be the likely combination that national coach Ben Ryan is searching for to ignite Fiji's 7s attack as the halves combination.

They have proven their combination with the Wardens and with the guidance of master tactician mentor, the duo could be Fiji's answer to the halves combination at the IRB series.

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