For the love of rugby: Navakawau rugby club to feature in Marist 7s tourney

Vereimi Kinikini (with the ball) traiins with his St Peter Bavakawau teammates in Raiwaqa, Suva, yesterday. Picture:

Even though they have not been able to find sponsors or support on the financial side of things, the St Peter Navakawau rugby club will be participating in the 47th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s tournament purely for the love of rugby.

The club consists of villagers from the island of Taveuni, who have travelled to Suva to find employment.

Team manager Isireli Buli says all financial needs in relation to sports and training equipment have been met by the players of the club.

“Everything we are able to buy and do for the club comes straight from our pockets,” Buli says.

The club, originally based in Taveuni, has been in the competition for a very long time, Buli says.

However, because of a lack of sponsorship and support, the club slowly started to die out.

“Most of the players are from the same village so we know each other. We decided to try and revive the club simply because we love to play rugby.

“The commitment the boys have shown over the past three to four weeks has been amazing.”

Buli, who is also a member of the team, said the players agreed to join the club in a bid to keep fit and keep away from negative influences such as drinking alcohol.

“We wanted to keep ourselves away from all these negative things like smoking and other stuff. This was another reason we wanted to join the club.”

Despite their financial circumstances, members of the club have taken it upon themselves to reel in income to manage the team as a whole.

“Sometimes we carry out fundraising and other activities, but most of the time we have to take money out of our own pocket to buy certain things for the club.”

Though this may seem like an overwhelming challenge to many, Buli and his team has learned to use their current situation as motivation during training sessions.

“We have learned how to turn everything negative we face into fuel for our training. At this, I have seen the boys train harder each session.”

As they prepare to run out on to the field, Buli says they only hope to show the people of Fiji that they too have talent and much to offer to rugby.

“We just want to prove ourselves to everybody, so that we can at least have people to start believing in our team.”

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