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7s Eighth Man

7s Eighth Man
Vodafone Fijians 7s reps from left; Kitione Dawai, Pio Tuwai and Amenoni Nasilasila relaxing in London yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir
May 16
07:51 2015

When the Vodafone Fijian 7s side runs out onto the field at Twickenham today, they will be welcomed by more than 1000 Fijian supporters.

This was the assurance made by the Fiji 8th Man UK initiative, which was coined by coach Ben Ryan after winning at the 2015 Las Vegas 7.

Organisation founder Lorraine Raiwalui-Suka revealed the full story of how the London-based group came about.

“Watching the Las Vegas 7s, we could sense something special was building in this team,” she said.

“The boys seemed to be playing at a new level. And the huge number of fans, so many Fiji flags and hearing about the fundraising that was done, we just knew we had to do something special here for London.

“We are blessed to have sold 1000 tickets and have been overwhelmed with the support we have received from the Fijian community.

“It seems everybody is right behind this Fiji team and we are so excited to be cheering the boys on as they go for their first World Sevens Series title in 10 years.”

Leading the organisation alongside fellow London residents her husband Koroi Suka, David Borrow and Jamie Bruce, Raiwalui-Suka elaborated on the remarkable task they had undertaken to garner support.

“The group gained interest through posting video messages on their Facebook page from prominent Fijians including musician George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso in the USA, rugby legend Nicky Little in England and Flying Fijians back row Akapusi Qera in France.”

Raiwalui-Suka acknowledged all those who supported their cause for all the assistance the 8th Man team have received.

“I’d like to place on record our special thanks to Rugby Football Union for their great help and to the Fiji High Commission for the constant encouragement and wise advice. As Fijians living so far from home, it means a great deal to us to support our boys and cheer them on at Twickenham.”

The UK Fijian community, which is dominated by British Forces personnel and their families, will be joined by fans travelling from France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Australia and Fiji. The 2015 London 7s kicks off tonight where Fiji plays Argentina at 9.06pm, Samoa at 12.12am and Canada at 3.18am.

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

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