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Sevens sports tourism

Rugby, holiday on the other side

IF you were to travel by boat for more than ten hours to watch a rugby 7s tournament, you probably still reeling from Fiji’s Olympic medal win and just can’t get enough of it. But if you came from the other side of the world as far away as Holland, then the deed is synonymous with the Fijian word Tiliva, meaning “on the other side”. Erik Schiphorst with his wife and two children are holidaying in Fiji and were spectators at last month’s inaugural Tiliva Sevens on Kadavu Island.

“I know that Fiji is very good at rugby sevens. They are the World Champion and Olympic Champion,” the ecstatic Dutch said. Sports tourism is going rural. Organizers of the Tiliva 7s are riding on the wave created by the global success of the national men’s sevens team.

The plan is to bring the limelight of the sevens game to the island, and showcase the talent of players there that don’t get the chance to play in tournaments mostly held in the urban centres on the main island Viti Levu. Tournament director Alipate Nakasava told the ABC Pacific Beat program Kadavu has produced national sevens stars like Sireli Naqelevuki, Setareki Tawake, Sela Gutugutuwai and Leone Nakarawa.

“We want to breed future national rugby players from this tournament since it’s very hard for our boys to go to Viti Levu because of travelling costs and other things,” he said. Inter-island ferries make the rounds to Kadavu once a week and the 10-hour journey is mostly at night.

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