Editorial comment – National teams lead the way

Fiji 7s players train in Australia. Picture: FRU/SUPPLIED.

The national 7s team had its first training run at the Sunshine Coast in Australia this week in preparation for the PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby 7s tournament.

That’s going to be held later this month, on June 25 to 27 in Townsville, Australia.

Now we learn that the 18-member squad with team management spent three days in a strict three-day lockdown after arriving in Brisbane last Friday evening.

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber said the players were in good spirits.

Now the fact is the team spent long periods in quarantine in Fiji.

They trained in a lockdown bubble to prepare for this event in Australia.

Every player recorded negative results after COVID-19 tests. They went into a strict three-day lockdown upon arrival, Baber said.

“We were tested again for COVID-19 and it was the second test in about three days in which we are all negative so then we started training this week,” he said.

We have another team, the Kaiviti Silktails competing in the Massey Cup rugby league competition in Australia.

This team also had to go through quarantine and COVID-19 tests to participate in the Australian event.

Understandably there is a massive difference in circumstances as these teams were placed in bubbles, and looked after well, with top priority placed on staying safe within their bubbles under very strict conditions.

However, perhaps the lesson we can come off with is the fact that it is possible to keep Fijians safe within bubbles over a prolonged period of time.

In saying that though, there will be a massive focus on logistics and other issues to consider, and understandably finance.

The challenge is trying to keep those directly impacted motivated, and focused on the big picture. The powers that be have a massive task to try and keep our numbers down.

It’s not going to be easy. We accept that we all may differ in how much value we place on safety issues, especially given the different circumstances we face daily on the home front.

Perhaps we can use our national teams as motivation moving forward though. It is possible to keep the virus at bay. All we need to do is stay within our bubbles.

Let’s not bring in anyone who isn’t a part of our bubble. Keep them away!

But if you must travel, then please wear a mask, adhere to physical distancing rules, and wash your hands often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser.

Do not touch your face when out in public.

Consider the fact that these teams were in bubbles here, made sacrifices and stayed within their bubbles, and all travelled safely to Australia.

They all remained COVID-free after numerous tests there, and the Silktails have been playing very well in the Massey Cup competition so far.

So let’s take some motivation from here and adhere strictly to COVID-19 rules. Our teams have proven that it can be done.

So if you are in a lockdown area, please stay put!

Do not move around and engage in social events like drinking kava.

Please do not go past clearly marked police barriers, for a stroll around the neighbourhood, or to the nearby supermarket.

This is not the time to live dangerously. Let’s fight the virus together please!

In saying that, we will turn to the powers that be to consider factors that must go hand in hand with such a decision.

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