Fiji Time: 6:03 PM on Friday 24 November

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Tough challenge

Sikeli Qounadovu
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE Super Cool Lau 7s rugby team of Nalawa, Ra, is a testimony to the value of rugby in Fiji.

When the team was formed last year, the players' first intention was to participate at this year's Fiji Bitter Marist 7s.

And they will.

But the dusty road from the sugarcane belts is a story to tell.

They are farmers, young men, and they sell cassava to make their dream come true.

That's the beauty about rugby- especially in Fiji.

And it goes with the motto of the Marist Rugby Club of helping develop grassroots rugby.

After participating in a few tournaments in the Western Division, the team members felt they were ready for the big leagues and that was the Marist 7s tournament. But there was a few obstacles along the way, which needed to be taken care off.

For the 15 young farmers who banded together, a blessing came their way when Super Cool, a company based in California, USA, pitched in to help pay their admission to the tournament.

As farmers, that was something they had been worried about, and a sigh of relief that their entry fee was taken care of.

For a team located in the sugarcane belts of Nalawa, Ra, and near the Ra High School, there were a few other obstacles.

First the heavy downpour had disturbed their training and second it would cost them about $800 in transportation to get to the ANZ Stadium this weekend and back to their homes.

"We have been camping for two weeks, and whatever we get from our gardens like bele, watermelons and other vegetables, that's what we are feeding ourselves with.

"The boys have had to sell 15

to cover for our transportation cost and we are blessed to have a dealer who agreed to buy $80 a bag.

"In total it took us ten bags to sell to cover for our cost," said their coach Ilai Nameke.

He said they chose to participate at the 41st Fiji Bitter Marist 7s because of exposure.

"This team is made up of young farmers from age 18 to 27 years. We are here for exposure, to show that while we may be isolated, we too have talents.

"Who knows maybe one or if not a few of our players could be selected for national duties."

He said their team was named Lau because it was named after their farming settlement in Ra.

The Fiji Bitter Marist 7s will be held this Friday and Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Tabadamu is the defending champion of the tournament.








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