Bravo To Our Sevens World Champions

Your passion for the game and patriotism for your country beats any offer money can buy.
04 Jun 2019 12:49
Bravo To Our Sevens World Champions
The victorious Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team in Paris on June 2,2019. Photo: Ian Muir


Congratulations to the Fiji Airways Sevens Gladiators.

Your achievements in this year’s HSBC World Sevens Series cannot be matched. It was only after the rooster’s crow had signalled the end of the Paris 7s in the wee hours yesterday that the full extent of your achievements were realised.

The bonuses came after with the player awards and selection of the dream team. The win highlighted your passion for the game and patriotism for your country, with your heart being the difference against the dollar.

No amount of money can beat passion and patriotism and the sacrifices which had to be made for being at the bottom rung of big budget rugby nations who present everything to their players virtually on a silver platter.

The players will continue to do their best on the battlefield on the circuit, but it is about time that our corporate organisations band together and create a pool of funds for them.

Their triumphs and glories have made every Fijian proud, but these wins go beyond that. They have created bands of supporters at every venue waving the banner blue, promoting our tiny nation to the millions of viewers who had their eyes glued to the box.

This creates interest among millions of people who don’t know where Fiji is and will start searching and then visit our shores and then if he or she is an enterpreneur  it could lead to prospective trade relations.

Such is the multiplier effect of the scintillating wins and mesmerising performances on the rugby field that one commentator said “…was from another planet”.

The hard yards put in by them has seen Fiji this season:

  • Win the HSBC World Sevens Series;
  • Win a record five-in-a-row at Hong Kong – a feat no other team has achieved;
  • At least one player was selected as part of the dream team in all tournaments;
  • Had four players selected in the Dream Team for the Series
  • Ratu Meli Derenalagi winning “Rookie of the Year” after being nominated alongside Vilimoni Botitu and Aminiasi Tuimaba.
  •  Win five of the series tournaments that are up for grabs each year – Cape Town, Hamilton, Hong Kong, London and Paris.

Such was their tenacity and grit in achieving these difficult targets, but they did it with injured ankles, wrists, pulled muscles, twisted ankles and knees and the injury list goes on.

Our tourism industry is probably the biggest beneficiary of all even though the tourists may not say they were here because they watched the Fijian sevens team.

It is about time that we create this fund for the players and have clauses in it that we continue to support our heroes after they have retired.

The Paris 7s was special in that they overcame last year’s nightmare where they lost to South Africa, denying them the World Series. They bulldozed all teams on day two and showed them that to beat our gladiators, they would have to play rugby from a planet that is better than the one they came from.

Come on Fiji – let us put our money where our mouth is. Charles Chambers

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