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Answered Prayers: Setareki Tawake Tells How The Akita Prefecture Worked Hard To Host The Flying Fijians

Setareki Tawake tells how the Akita Prefecture worked so hard for 4 years so they can host the Flying Fijians
10 Sep 2019 11:18
Answered Prayers: Setareki Tawake Tells How The Akita Prefecture Worked Hard To Host The Flying Fijians
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians hooker Veremalua Vugakoto during their gym session at the Varsity Weight Room in Akita, Japan, on September 9, 2019. The Flying Fijians are grateful to the gym owner Masanobu Kawamure for hosting them. Photo: FRU Media

The presence of the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians in Akita City is the outcome of four years of hard work, says the team’s liaison officer.

Former Flying Fijians star flanker Setareki Tawake said the arrival of the Dominiko Waqaniburotu captained-side has really hyped up the whole Akita Prefecture.

“Different people, big boys and they are fun,” he said.

“There were big cities bidding to host the Flying Fijians but it was given to us.”

The Kavala, Kadavu native said he had to work collectively with the Akita City officials and the sports officials of the prefecture to promote them.

“As a former Flying Fijian and to bring to the Flying Fijians to Akita, is something huge.

“It took us four years and we prayed for it. Looking back it’s an emotional moment for us. Here in Akita money does not really matter.”

Tawake said he had been communicating with the Fiji Rugby Union about Akita as an ideal place for the Flying Fijians to prepare for their Rugby World Cup opener against Australia on September 21 at the Sapporo Dome.

He also indicated that they had worked with head coach John McKee when he came to Akita to inspect what they have to offer.

“Akita is on the countryside with less distraction and life here is similar to Fiji so the players are able to settle in well” he added.

Tawake was rated as one of the world’s best openside flankers at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

He scored the try that was controversially disallowed by referee Paddy O’Brien when the Flying Fijians came close to beating France in their pool play.

A few years later O’Brien admitted his mistake and apologised for it.

“I came to Japan in 2003 after the Rugby World Cup and played for four years in Tokyo.

“Then I signed with Akita Northern Bullets as a coach and with my family we’ve been living here for 14 years.”

Tawake said as of now he’s role is to ensure that everything is organised for the Flying Fijians during their stay in Akita.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola.

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