Dubai 7s: Whole new experience for Teba in Dubai

No guts, no glory ... Ioane Teba during a Fiji 7s training session in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Fiji will tonight unveil a new rugby star in the Dubai 7s. With the World Rugby Sevens Series returning to the United Arab Emirates after months of COVID-19, Fiji’s presence at the tournament is a star attraction to global rugby fans.

One of the unknowns to be unveiled by Fijian coach Saiasi Fuli is Ioane Teba.

He is a farmer from Taveuni, who dropped out of secondary school to help his family.

Little did he know that the rugby skills he garnered on the island where another rugby superstar Semi Radradra comes from, would this week take him to one of the cosmopolitan metropolis in the world where most of the rich and the powerful mingle.

“I never thought I will be chosen to play for Fiji,” he said last week before departing for his first trip overseas.

It was the first time too to fly in an aeroplane.

“I spent my whole life in the village helping my family. To be given the chance to represent my country by playing the sport that I love, is a blessing in disguise.”

Teba is a rugby-possessed Fijian young man aiming to write his name in the Dubai 7s annals. He is from Nawaido, Solevu, Bua, with maternal link to Nukubalavu Village in Savusavu.

The Raiwasa-Taveuni Rugby Club player is among the new caps chosen by Fuli to play in Dubai.

“I know there are a lot of expectations since most of the players are new,” he said.

“We have been training well under the leadership of Fuli and captain Josua Vakurinabili. The training sessions were intense and sometimes I wanted to give up. Looking back, I thank my family for the sacrifice they made for me. It allowed me to be where I am now. I am not going to give up.

“Without the support of my family, I wouldn’t make it. God has different plans for us.

“We, the Taveuni players, are carrying the hopes of our families, the vanua and most importantly our young brothers and sisters who love playing rugby. We are setting the platform for them that one day they can also wear the white jersey.”

The Fiji 7s team plays France at 7.22pm and Canada at 10.52pm today, and 3.33am against Australia tomorrow.

The Fijiana 7s team faces Canada at 8.56pm today and Russia at 3.05am tomorrow. Full telecast and replay of the Dubai 7s will be on Fiji One television.

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