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Sau follows dream as he hides his way up

Sikeli Qounadovu In Dubai
Friday, December 01, 2017

EVERY parents want the best for their children.

They give their children good education so that they can pass with flying colours, get a job to look after their families.

Such is the case for Eroni Sau.

All his parents wanted was the best for him and his siblings, but he chose another path that was not received well by his mother.

"She didn't want me to play rugby when I was in school, but my brothers encouraged me, so I would train without her knowing, and during game day, while our Vaturua team is warming up and preparing for a game, I would be hiding in the bush wearing my jersey, shorts and rugby boots because my mother will always be looking for me.

"If she catches me then I am not going to play, but most times she would only find me playing on the field.

"But, that is the duty of every mother. She was being caring and doing her duty because she wanted me to succeed," said the 27-year-old police officer.

Life at his home in Marou, Naviti, Yasawa, was just like every other island boy.

He watched and even joined his father fishing and diving for bêche-de-mer in order to meet the family's basic needs.

"My mother stayed at home and my father is a fisherman, so I wanted the best for my family. I knew rugby was my way out of the struggles and to help my parents.

"Every day was the same, I would return from school, feed the pigs, move the cattle and do other household chores.

"I have three brothers and two sisters and financial constraints did not guarantee us a good education, but there was a way to become successful and rugby paved the way."

After leaving Yasawa High School, Sau attended Ba Provincial High School.

"I was there when a friend told me to start playing rugby league, so I joined the Saru Dragons Rugby League Club."

He later attended the Fiji National University to study Diploma in Sports Science.

That was where he caught the eyes of the late 7s fitness guru, Epeli Lagiloa.

"He taught me a lot and he believed in me. He said if I utilised my talent well, I will get somewhere."

In 2013, he sacrificed his education for a rugby league contract in the Cook Islands.

"My tuition fees were expensive and I know my father could not afford it."

The same year he was selected in the 2013 Battle of the Bati trial for the Rugby League World Cup, "and despite scoring two tries, I lost hope and went on to join the Red Rock Rugby Club," under the guidance of the late Lote Rasiga.

"With Red-Rock I got to travel locally and overseas, but also at the same time I started a family and I had to think of my young family.

"I joined the Fiji Police Force and I am grateful to the force for providing me employment and at the same time allowing me to do something that I love the most and that is to play rugby."

Today, the father of two, after a stellar performance for the Fiji Airways Drua side in the recent National Rugby Championship (NRC), prepares to don the white jumper for his debut in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which kicks off in Dubai today.

Apart from his wife and two daughters, his mother is now his greatest fan.

"Every time before I go on tour, I always call her and she always cry over the phone and always tell me to take care.

"I hope to have a good outing this weekend and next weekend because after the South Africa 7s, my younger daughter will be turning one-year.

"I will dedicate this week's tournament to her and all my family members and friends who have supported me along the way," he said.

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