TOWERING Fiji Vodafone 7s forward Pio Tuwai is dedicating his HSBC IRB 7s Asia-leg outings to the love of his life, Irinieta Sadria.
The humble giant, who leaves behind his seriously ill bed-ridden wife today when the team flies to Japan, has had to make a difficult choice after being named by coach Ben Ryan — to be by his wife's side or be in the Fiji side that she is a big fan of.
For the past three months, his wife battled sickness and Tuwai and their two children have endured with her.
"At times during the IRB 7s series, I feel guilty that I was not by her side even though she had given me the approval to answer my call of duty," he said yesterday in Sigatoka where the team camped and prepared for the Tokyo and Hong Kong Sevens.
"Our only point of contact is through prayers and I believe that the power of prayer enabled me to overcome this hurdle.
"The past three months, I have been worrying about my wife's health but I am fortunate to have a loving and supporting partner.
"Even from her sick bed, she still cares for me and allows me to represent the country."
Tuwai, who wed Irinieta, a nurse, in December 2009, said he faced a dilemma when he was selected in the Fiji team.
He said his marriage vows to be with her in times of "good health or in sickness" were always on his mind.
He said Irinieta, a strong supporter of the national team, told him to go out and play.
After the memorable Dubai 7s rugby final last year, when Fiji trounced New zealand 44-nil, he shed tears for her and their children when the national anthem was sung.
"Even though we won the Dubai 7s I was still hurt for not being with my sick wife," said Tuwai.
Tuwai said his wife was slowly recovering.
"My mind, heart and soul are torn between my wife and Fiji but I thank the Almighty Lord for giving me the strength and the courage to conquer the obstacles.
"I am relieved that my wife is recovering and I thank the Lord for blessing my family and rugby career.
"I will dedicate these two tournaments to my family."
Tuwai also thanked the people of Fiji for their support and vowed to give his outmost best for fans.
"I am fully recovered from injury and I am ready to help my teammates do Fiji proud."
As Tuwai departs the country this morning, Irinieta and her two children will be among the thousands of rugby fans cheering on this hardworking player.