Strength Of A Woman

Rugby was not in the dictionary for most young men of Nukusa Village, near Udu Point in the province of Macuata.
11 Jun 2022 14:36
Strength Of A Woman
Rooster Chicken Fijiana hooker Vika Matarugu on the attack against Queensland Reds during the 2022 SuperW series in Australia.

Rugby was not in the dictionary for most young men of Nukusa Village, near Udu Point in the province of Macuata.

Their days would be spent going out to sea, catching crabs, farming, or doing odd jobs at nearby farms.

In the evening it’s all about relaxation- enjoying their kava, telling stories and serenading through­out the night.

That was their way of life for many decades until recently. There has been a dramatic change as these men have begun to em­brace rugby.

This came about when they watched on televi­sion, how their fellow vil­lager, Vika Matarugu, played for the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua, when they hoisted the Su­per W title in Australia, last month.

She was the Fijiana Drua’s livewire hooker and was renowned for her blockbusting runs to set up tries for her teammates.

Little did Matarugu know, that back in her village, these young men were inspired to take up the sport.

On the Drua’s return, Ma­tarugu was accompanied by prop Jiowana Sauto as they visited her village and that was where things took off for these young men.

Village elder, Pita Tuinamena, said Matarugu’s achievement had pushed the young men to form a rugby team.

“Vika was just like these village boys before she became a star,” Tuinamena who now manages the village rugby team said.

“Her achievements to play for Fiji inspired these young men to play rugby. Now, there is a change as they (young men) only think about buying their boots and play­ing rugby.”

He said Matarugu and Sauto had a question and answer session with the young men. Tuinamena said it really made the difference.

“Vika had set the bar for these young men to try and equal it or achieve something greater.

“Vika is the only person from this village to make it big in rugby. It was really a special moment for us villagers that Vika was able to think about these young men.

“When she had a few words with the boys, everything changed. The looks on these boys’ faces changed, and their reactions were just unreal. We are blessed that she came down and gave hope to these young men.

“The village routine where relax­ation is paramount, coupled with kava drinking has changed after that visit. The boys are focused on playing rugby.”

Tuinamena said Matarugu would be assisting them to get rugby boots and other training gear.

“After Vika’s visit, these boys have begun to work hard in trying to play rugby. Some of them would go out to catch crabs at night, fish­ing and some of them are working at farms for $50 a day so they can buy their boots and training gear. This just shows how much inter­est they have.”

Tuinamena said they were work­ing to establish the village’s first rugby team to play in the sevens tournaments around Dogotuki.

“The plan is to start there before we join the Macuata Rugby Union club competition in 2023,” he added.



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