23 March, 2018, 12:00 am
THE Bua-based Sawani Brothers 7s rugby team is making a return at the 2018 Fiji Bitter Marist 7s after 34 years.
Timoci Wainiqolo, a former Fiji national rugby rep and 7s coach was part of the team that participated in 1984.
Wainiqolo was later selected in the Fiji team for the Hong Kong 7s in 1991 and he scored the winning try in the 18-14 victory over New Zealand.
Former Tabadamu coach Jale Melovatu will coach the team in the two-day tournament which starts at the ANZ Stadium in Suva today.
“We are excited to be part of the tournament again after having last played in the tournament in 1984,” Melovatu said.
“We had a lot of financial problems which was why we could not field a team in the past years,” team manager Ovini Matavesi said.
“There are a lot of potential and talented players in Sawani, Bua and they need tournaments where they can expose their talents.
“All the players are from Sawani Village and we have decided to come and play the big teams at the Marist 7s.
“We have been preparing for the past two months and we have played in the Wainunu 7s, Lekutu 7s and Wairiki 7s.”
The players in the team are all farmers who plant yaqona in their village and would try to showcase their skills and impress national coach Gareth Baber. “The players are determined to upset the other teams in the competition. After the Marist 7s we will field a team in the Labasa 7s,” Matavesi said.
“The players are all below the age of 22 so we have a young team, but they are committed and prepared to play.”
The team arrived in Suva on Tuesday after travelling by boat.
The Marist 7s tournament will start today.