A tale of two halves

Members of the Bay of Plenty team from Nadrala Village after a training session at Cattle Park last week. Picture: ERONI TUINUKU

LACK of training ground and facilities because of lack of finance will not deter the Bay of Plenty rugby team as they gear up for the Nadroga rugby sevens tournament next week.

Cattle Park is a famous training ground in the interior of Nadroga within the surrounding villages of Nadrala, Nawamagi and Narata because of its well-maintained grass pitches for training and club competition.

Bay of Plenty ruggers have a mutual understanding with their grazing cattle every afternoon that when they enter the field to train the cattle are aware of the time to clear the field for the team to train.

They know when to return.

Team head coach and former national and Nadroga rep Apisalome Turagacoko said sponsorship was what they needed to upgrade their team and lift the standard of the players.

“We have some really talented players but we can’t afford going into major tournaments because we lack financially and if anyone is willing to help us, I promise they will not regret it because of the quality of players and the talents they have.

“We are fortunate to have a training field that we don’t have to cut the grass daily because that is where we graze our cattle’s and they would keep the grass trimmed for us. Probably because we’re used to training here (cattle park) that is why the cattle know the time we will come into the field.

“In the past we had to chase them off the field but now, before we run in, they’re all outside and as soon as the sun start to set, the cows would start marching back in the field and we have to clear the field for them,” said Turagacoko.

The struggles the players endure during their training show their belief and love of rugby and how they could make a change.

“For these past few weeks, they’ve been cutting sugar cane in the morning, farming at midday looking for sources of income to help them in the tournament.

“All the nearby grounds are booked by other teams and we are fortunate to have Cattle Park maintained to train and we respect their space and we’ve seen and noticed these cattle do the same,” he said.

The Nadroga Sevens will be held on December 4-7 at Lawaqa Park.

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