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Coates Concerned For Family, Teammates

Auckland: A Kiwi in the Fijian women’s rugby sevens team believes the players will use the devastation of Cyclone Winston as motivation for the rest of their international tournaments in
23 Feb 2016 13:01
Coates Concerned For Family, Teammates
Brittany Coates training for the Telecom Fijiana.

Auckland: A Kiwi in the Fijian women’s rugby sevens team believes the players will use the devastation of Cyclone Winston as motivation for the rest of their international tournaments in the Women Sevens Series.

Waikato woman Brittany Coates is tracking the progress of her Fijian teammates playing in the Women’s Sevens Series in Sao Paulo.

An illness meant she couldn’t go to the tournament in Brazil with the rest of the Fijian team. Instead she opted to come home to Matamata with the view of making Fiji’s team for the Rio Olympics.

But news of the damaged caused by the cyclone in Fiji has turned her attention to family and friends dealing with the widespread devastation in the Pacific.

The 22-year-old has been living in Davuilevu Housing, about a 20 minute drive from the capital Suva.

She said she hasn’t heard from friends or family in Fiji since Saturday morning, when she spoke to her cousin who she lives with.

“I think they’re okay. I see through Facebook my family and friends are checking in to say they’re safe,” she said.

“So that’s how I’m monitoring it at the moment.”

Coates believes all power is cut off, and said the winds weren’t too strong nor the rain too heavy in her area.

“I don’t think where I live in Fiji was hit as bad, but I still not really sure.”

Coates’ partner is Fijian Setareki Tamanivalu, who also plays rugby, for the Chiefs. She said he has heard from his family on Yasawa Island and said they are all okay.

She plans to head back to Fiji this weekend and re-join her teammates in camp.

“I’m not booked, but my plan is to go back this weekend. I’ll hold off if the conditions aren’t better, I just want to make sure it’s safe to fly.”

Coates said she hasn’t disturbed the team during the tournament.

She said she knows the players will use the situation as a motivational tool on the field, and play their hearts out.

Coates is eligible to represent Fiji through her father, who was born in Fiji and her grandmother is also Fijian.

After travelling back and forth for trainings and tournaments, Coates decided to move to Fiji permanently.

“It’s just one of the sacrifices I’m making on my journey to make the Olympics.

“I want to do it, I love it so much over there.”

-Stuff

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