Rugby 7s Olympic Glory unites nation, Pacific

Fijiana huddle

When you think of Rugby 7s, the ascent of Fiji’s men’s team to the summit of 7s heaven and their winning of almost every accolade of the fast-paced and ever-growing sport is usually the first thing that come to mind. However, that has changed with the stirring performance of the Fiji women’s side, dubbed the Fijiana, who claimed bronze in Tokyo.

The Fijiana have overcome great adversity and are part of a region wide movement. They had given notice of their vastly improved form in the Rugby 7s Oceania tournament in Townsville, Australia, in the leadup to the Olympic Games.

There they shocked the small crowd in attendance when they beat the Australian team in emphatic fashion. Australia were the defending Olympic champions, so beating them was a massive boost as they headed over to Tokyo. But that was just a taste of the glory to come.

As for the men’s team, what can we say? They were just phenomenal as they tore through their opponents led by now two-time gold medallist, captain Jerry Tuwai, before defeating old rivals New Zealand 27-12 in the final match.

New finds, Juita Wainiqolo and Sireli Maqala dictated the game play and while superstar Semi Radradra suffered a knee injury later in the tournament, he was able to deliver when the team needed him.

The road to glory was to not easy for our Pacific warriors and details of the hardships and challenges they faced have since surfaced.

As COVID-19 has affected movement, gatherings and every aspect of life within Fiji since April, the team spent more than five months in quarantine in preparations for the Tokyo Games, isolated from their families and loved ones.

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