24 November, 2017, 12:00 am
A battle royale looms this weekend when Pacific neighbours, Vodafone Fiji Bati and Mate Ma’a Tonga face up to their more formidable rivals, Australia and England respectively, in the much awaited RLWC semi-finals.
Tonga is playing in their first semi-final while Fiji has been there twice before.
Nothing should be taken away from the two Pacific Nations.
They have stamped their mark in the tournament and rightfully deserve a crack at the coveted Holy Grail of International Rugby League.
En-route to the semi-finals, the Bati and Mate Ma’a players have shown to share common traits that abounds in our Pacific history and culture.
Talk about the courage showcased on the field.
Absorbing bone crunching tackles and putting their bodies on the line in the heat of battle.
Talk about the bonding in the team to hold the fort and not let the enemy through.
Talk about the passion and spirit to give their best shot in what they have been tasked to do.
Amazing, isn’t it?
But what really takes the cake is their allegiance to the Almighty.
God first, before everything else. This is what separates the two from the rest.
No doubt, a total submission to God’s power has worked wonders for the two Pacific nations.
Come Friday night, the Bati players will once again break into chorus with ‘I Jiova, ni vukei au mada’, while on Saturday evening, the Mate Ma’a players will emotionally react to the first call – “Ko Otua mo Tonga, ko oku tofi ‘a.”
(God and Tonga, are my inheritance), at the start of the Sipi Tau.
Oblivious to the opposition, this is the very foundation that the Bati and Mate Ma’a players source their ‘inner’ strength and get that ‘mana’ to perform extraordinarily on the battle field.
Advice to the Australian Kangaroos and the Poms, do not at any time drop your guards down, or you will be ruthlessly smothered by the spiritually inspired and battle hardened Pacific Islanders.
Toso Bati and Malo Tonga.