EDITORIAL: Helping The Needy, Spreading Gospel Through Rugby

Fiji and Australia have shared and gained so much in rugby in the past 66 years. In the end, since we made first rugby contact in 1952, it has been
02 Sep 2018 10:00
EDITORIAL: Helping The Needy, Spreading Gospel Through Rugby
Fijian Legends and Classic Wallabies action at Ratu Cakobau Park on 1 September, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Fiji and Australia have shared and gained so much in rugby in the past 66 years.

In the end, since we made first rugby contact in 1952, it has been a win-win situation for both and the rugby bond between the two countries continues to grow.

For the second year in a row, Australian rugby people continue to play their part by spreading the gospel at the grassroots level. The Classic Wallabies arrived on Tuesday and apart from holding rugby clinics and visiting patients at Sigatoka Hospital, they also contributed to a very worthy cause. They took part in a charity dinner for Fiji Kidney Research and Treatment Centre at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa on Yanuca Island and raised more than $10,000.

All monies raised in the “Evening with the Classic Wallabies” on Thursday at the Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian restaurant will support ongoing dialysis treatment for children in Fiji.

Ex-Wallaby hooker Adam Freir said: “Connecting with community, raising money for worthy cause and spreading the gospel is all about giving back with to the sport we all love.”

129 test veteran Stephen Moore said: “This has been a good start and we really want to build on it now and maybe establish a really strong connection with Fiji.”

And who would have thought that test rugby legends like Moore, Sam Cordingley, Adam Freir, Pat Phipps and our very own Lote Tuqiri, Radike Samo and Samu Kerevi would one day play at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori.

Yesterday at Nausori’s Ratu Cakobau Park, they lost heavily 14-53 but still awe the crowd with their presence in giving back to the sport we all love. Classic Wallabies manager Stephen Hoiles said: “A country like Fiji has a relationship with the Australian people and there is so much to achieve in rugby.”

And it all began in 1952 when Rugby Australia sought Fiji Rugby Union’s help to help save the sport due to the growing popularity of rugby league and it worked wonders in the revival.

Since then Australia and Fiji have played each other a total of 21 times, of which Australia has won 18 times with Fiji winning twice and one draw.

Fiji has not beaten Australia since 1954 and the Wallabies last toured Fiji in 1984. While many have called for another tour is long overdue, Australia have done so much on and off the field and we applaud them over the years. Our second year in the National Rugby Championship is a concept that will benefit both countries in the long run. About 3000 fans were treated to some entertaining rugby at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday in the first round of the NRC where the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua thumped Melbourne Rising 40-17.

The Classic Wallabies will return next year to kick-start the 2019 season. We can only thank them for spreading the rugby gospel and in the process contribute in helping the needy and less fortunate in our society.


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