Island News

Island team stamps mark in rugby tourney

Written By : MARAEA WAQALEVU. It was the sheer will to be part of the Island Zone Rugby competition and to stamp their mark in local rugby that brought the
23 Aug 2008 12:00

Written By : MARAEA WAQALEVU. It was the sheer will to be part of the Island Zone Rugby competition and to stamp their mark in local rugby that brought the Koro Island team to the capital city.
And for the island team and its coach, each game has meant so much for them as they continue to fight for a spot in the finals next week.
Islandlife spoke to team coach Kitione Cabeinatuvu on the team’s preparation and their journey to Suva to be part of the two-week tourney.
Mr Cabeinatuvu is a school teacher by profession at Koro Island High School and despite his hectic schedule with his students he was able to take time out to help train the Koro Island team and also prepare them for their trip to Suva.
He said with the games going as scheduled and planned, his team continues to be in high spirits as they embark in their quest to make it to the finals.
“We have prepared well and trained hard to get here and we hope to stamp our mark before we return home,” Mr Cabeinatuvu said. He said the support of the ‘vanua’ of Koro including the ‘turaga ni vanua’ has been so overwhelming.
“We needed that support to make it this far and its great to get that from the ‘vanua’ because nothing will go wrong after that,” he said.
“We got here last week Friday and we hope to remain until next week to play in the finals.”
Mr Cabeinatuvu said it was great to see the boys in the team full of energy and gearing to play and at the same time give it their all.
“I told the boys to play each game like they’re playing in the finals and not to treat any game lightly if they want to make it to the top. “Last year we made it to the finals and unfortunately, we lost to Nakasaleka and we remain hopeful that come next week, Koro will walk away the winner of the Island Zone Rugby tournament,” Mr Cabeinatuvu said. He said the team was lucky because money generated from player’s club subscription was able to help pay for the team’s journey to Suva. Mr Cabeinatuvu said with the help of a donour who gave $500 towards the boys’ trip, each player’s travel expenses was accommodated for.
“The money collected for club subs was used for the team’s travel expenses and the $500 given to us by the sponsor helped us further,” he said. Mr Cabeinatuvu said they’ve been billeted by Koro Islanders living in the capital and the treatment they’ve received for far has been nothing short of awesome.
“We’ve been treated very well by family members and friends along with other relatives living in Suva and the hospitality we’ve been receiving has helped to boost the players,” Mr Cabeinatuvu said.
He said the boys in the team have been clearly instructed to abide by all rules handed down by management which includes a taboo for all players.
“We’ve advised the boys about the consumption of alcohol and also smoking cigarettes and for the past four weeks until the tournament is over, all players have been told to keep away from any substance that will affect their fitness and also take their minds away from the team’s game plan.
“And the boys have done really well so far, sticking to the team rule and playing their best to reach the finals,” said Mr Cabeinatuvu.
He said team members have also been told that Fiji Rugby Union officials were out and about at searching for new talents to recruit into the High Performance Unit.
“To get any of our players into the HPU will be a huge boost for the player himself and also the team.
“And team members have been reminded to perform to their best if they want to have the chance of being considered for the HPU,” he said. Mr Cabeinatuvu said most players from the islands always hope for a big break when they get the chance to showcase their talents in rugby and that’s just what his players would be doing.
He said for now, all his players were looking forward to doing was making the finals which would be played next week and if luck is on their side and the cup goes back to Koro with them, then well and good, but if luck decides to skip them again this year, then so be it.

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