In a show of solidarity, camaraderie and good will the Fiji Women’s Rugby 15s team paid the Vanuatu Women’s Rugby 7s team a visit on Wednesday at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay, Fiji.
The Vanuatu women’s rugby 7s team are competing for the first time at the Oceania 7s championship.
Surprising the team with their act of sisterhood in rugby the Fiji reps bonded with the Vanuatu team sharing stories, tips on and off the field and encouragement in a show of support for their Melanesian sisters.
Fiji Women’s rugby 15s team Assistant Development Officer Paulini Tamatasasa spoke to the girls telling them that Fiji started from scratch as well.
“We are so happy that Vanuatu has fielded a team in this competition and we want to tell you not to be afraid out there, trust yourselves and trust each other, this is the main thing.”
She went on reassuring the girls, “We were smaller than you ladies when most of us started but look at us now. With perseverance and the will to perform to the best of your abilities and to focus on your game is all that matters and remember you must have fun. Enjoy the game and the experience you will take back with you from this competition.”
The Fiji National Women’s 15s team presented the girls with a gift of cash they had raised amongst themselves in a bid to welcome the Vanuatu team.
“This is our culture, our Melanesian fashion. We were so excited to hear Vanuatu was sending their first women’s team to compete and wanted to come to see you all and wish you all the best.
“Always remember there’s no stopping now,” added Tamatasasa.
Vanuatu 7s skipper Rachelle Adi Tari thanked the Fiji team for their kind gesture.
“We are honoured and humbled to be in the presence of such great women ruggers, to receive you all as a team and listen to your words of encouragement has done so much to boost the morale of the girls and from the bottom of our hearts as your Melanesian sisters, we thank you.”
Supported by the MSG Secretariat through the Sports, Arts and Culture programme where emphasis is given towards the empowerment of women in sports and a push for equality for our Melanesian women, the Director General Ambassador Amena Yauvoli was warmed by the gesture of the Fiji National Women’s 15s team.
“Not only is this a fantastic show of friendship and bonding amongst our women in the Rugby 7s circles but it is such a wonderful thing to see our Melanesian sisters from Fiji supporting and encouraging their much younger sisters of this discipline.
“This is a true testimony of the road MSG Secretariat is traveling down with the Sports, Arts and Culture programme, specifically when it comes to empowerment of young and talented Melanesian sportswomen.”
The Fiji National Women’s Rugby 15s team is preparing for the Oceania World Cup qualifiers which will be hosted in Fiji later this month.