Rugby in Fiji is always a passion, and it seemed the entire island of Moturiki had gone rugby mad for the anticipated clash of Nasauvuki and Uluibau (the two biggest teams on the island). With our current project taking place in Nasauvuki village, the TP volunteers have been training with the Nasauvuki guys for many weeks and now it was time to put their work to the test on the sports field. With such interest surrounding the game and everyone wanting to take part, it ended with players from all the villages of Moturiki trying to get into the teams.
At 2pm the team came together to start their warm up. At the club dinner a few days ago, the Fijian guys had nominated our volunteer, Rob Willmore as captain and Will Jackson as vice-captain. With Harry refereeing, Rob took the warm up and hands drills before they headed into the boys dorm for one last call to battle. As the whistle blew, and with a big crowd watching, we all hoped that the two weeks of training would allow the team to really show how good they could be.
Sadly though this was not to the be the case from the start, and whilst the team could look back on 3 dropped balls over the line in the first half, and a relatively strong defence in only conceding one try, the 0-5 deficit did not tell the whole story of 40 minutes marred by some terrible kicking and a lack of controlled play.
The half time team talk from Rob was loud and clear in how they were looking to change things, as we certainly had the potential and ability to win and win well playing the simple rugby that we had worked so hard on. But yet again we let ourselves down as a team in the second half, as although Mojee dived in under the posts after a fantastic backs move on the half way line, and Jerry also ran in un-touched after some individual brilliance, we yet again kicked good balls away far too many times. The opposition pulled a try back with 12 minutes to go and suddenly it was 14-12 going into the last 10 minutes. The guys held on, even when down to 13 men for repeat offences and losing Rob to injury after foul play from the other team. Uluibau almost took the game at the end, spreading the ball wide quickly and were away down the wing, only for Solo to put in a last ditch tackle and at the resulting ruck we turned over the ball and Tom was quick to jog the ball into touch to win the game 14-12.
It was a win, but not the way we’d have liked to win. We know this team is capable of playing some incredible rugby. We will be training hard as a squad ready for the repeat fixture next week and a chance to show how the beautiful game of rugby should really be played!