Fijiana inspires Nukusa Village rugby 7s team

Members of the Nukusa Seafarers having their meal at their manager Armstrong Cocker’s place in Suva. Picture: MELI LADDPETER

Seeing a fellow villager help the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua win the Super W competition was enough motivation to the men of Nukusa Village to put a rugby team together and will compete in the 47th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s tournament.

The team from Macuata on Vanua Levu is from the village where Fijiana Drua prop Vika Matarugu hails from.

The players are in Suva this weekend to compete for the biggest 7s prize the country has to offer.

Club manager Armstrong Cocker said youths of the village were inspired by the achievements of Matarugu for the Fijiana.

“When the Fijiana won the title, the boys from the village decided to take action and form a rugby club,” he said.

Nukusa Seafarers was formed last year and is based in their village.

Since the formation of the club, they have only participated in two 7s tournaments so far.

“The main reason for bringing the boys here to Suva to take part in the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s is to get them exposed to a very highly competitive tournament,” Cocker said.

He the majority of the members of the club had never played rugby competitively before the club was formed, and the Marist 7s will be a baptism of fire.

“They have never been to such a competition as this. Back in the village, the boys are usually involved in volleyball and other sports.

“This is actually the first rugby club that is formed here in our area, where we represent Macuata.”

The side has been camping at Cocker’s place in Suva for the past month, as they acclimatise to the Suva weather and the HFC Bank Stadium grounds.

“I want them to get used to running off the Suva ground here at the HFC Bank Stadium. We’ve been attending gym sessions at fitness centres which we do not have back in Vanua Levu.”

The Somosomo, Taveuni native said though they may be an inexperienced side, they have a lot to offer and will be using this year’s Marist 7s as an opportunity to get a glimpse of rugby on a whole different level.

“We have a very strong support system back at the village. Even though they do not have much, they continue to give whatever they have and for that this the team is grateful.”

As the Udu Point side prepares to take to the field, they will run out with passion for the sport.

“They are very passionate about the sport but didn’t have the chance to expose their talent in the past. This will be a very good opportunity for them and we can’t wait to get the tournament started.”

The side in Pool C faces Bula Brothers, Malolo Island Resort and McDonald’s Vueticakau.

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