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Rugby In Our DNA: Ratu Epeli

Members of the Rooster Chicken Fijiana farewelled for their World Cup debut on Wednesday night were told to show their opponents who they are and that rugby was in their DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).
25 Sep 2022 16:33
Rugby In Our DNA: Ratu Epeli
The Rooster Chicken Fijiana 15s team and officials after the captain’s run at the HFC Bank Stadium on September 22, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Members of the Rooster Chicken Fijiana fare­welled for their World Cup debut on Wednesday night were told to show their opponents who they are and that rugby was in their DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).

Chief guest and Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said: “When you are facing the French and the Eng­lish, show them that we are Fijians, and that rugby is in our DNA, and we punch above our weight,” at the Holiday Inn in Suva.

“I know that England and France who are ranked Number 1 and 2 in the world are in your pool. You are ranked Number 21, but this should not concern you,” he said.

“They have not met the Fijiana. Just like when you took the  by storm and win­ning the title in your first year and winning the Oceania competition.

Ratu Epeli said while the coaches have prepared the women rugby players well.

He reminded them that to play in the WC was an opportunity for them to deliver on the world stage.

“Value this opportunity and play your hearts out for the team, your families, your vanua, all women players and for Fiji.

“Take pride in the jersey and do us proud.”

Ratu Epeli acknowledged the pioneer women rugby players who took the bold step to stand up and be counted to start playing rugby.

Like other parts of the world wom­en were ridiculed and made fun of when they started playing male-dominated sport(s).

“It was through the sacrifice of those brave pioneers that we are here tonight on the verge of our first women World cup,” he said.

Ratu Epeli who is also a life mem­ber of the Fiji Rugby Union remind­ed the five-men coaching panel and the two trainers to respect the biological cycle of the women rugby players.

“I want to remind you men, the coaches and trainers that you are handling women and you must re­spect their biological cycle.”

 

Coaches and trainers: Senirusi Seruvakula (head coach), Asaeli Tikoirotuma (backs coach), Greg Smith (scrums coach), Inoke Male (line-out coach), Mosese Rauluni (defence coach), Tikiko Namaua (team trainer), Sanaila Vitau (assis­tant trainer).

The team departs on Sunday for New Zealand. Their matches: Oc­tober 8 vs England at 4.45pm (Eden Park, Auckland), October 16 vs South Africa at 5.45pm (Waitakere Stadium, Auckland) and October 22 vs France at 7.17pm (Northland Events Centre, Whangarei).

Story Bykaralaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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