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Itatau by the Fiji Airways Fijian Men's 7's Team to the 2019/2020 HSBC World Sevens Series And The Fijian Sevens Development Team to the OKTOBERFEST Sevens Competition

September 13, 2019       State House, Suva

The Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji National Rugby Union, Mr. John O’Connor;

Reverend Raki Tigarea;

The Coach of the Fiji Airways Fijian Men Sevens and Development Teams, Mr. Gareth Baber;

The Manager, Mr. Jone Niurua;

The Fiji Airways Fijian Men’s 7s Captain, Mr. Paula Dranisinukula;

Players and Officials;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and gentlemen.

Ni sa bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

I wish to firstly thank Reverend Tigarea for the inspirational spiritual message.

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to receive on behalf of Government and the people of Fiji, our Champions - Fiji Airways Men’s Rugby Team to the HSBC World Sevens Series for 2019-2020 and the Development Team to the Oktoberfest 7s.

I am pleased to see some familiar faces, and even more pleased to see new faces.
You undoubtedly bring new talent that will form a formidable unit that contributes to our continued and world renowned success in rugby especially in 7s.

Congratulations to all of you for being selected to represent our beloved nation, for those in Fiji Airways Men’s 7s Team and to the Development team, you are on the right track to making it into the national team.

I also offer my belated congratulations to the Men’s 7s team for gallantly winning the HSBC World Rugby 7s 2018-2019 Series.

Vinaka Vakalevu na gugumatua kei na yalo qaqa!

As we enter into the new series, as the “number one (1) team” we should show the world that we have a lot more to offer in the sport.

Not only do we have fresh talent, but we also have a renewed team approach and a proud and enviable legacy to uphold as the defending HSBC Series Champions, Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champions in the IRB Sevens code.

We can show the world that Fiji has always prided itself in facing new challenges and creating new opportunities.

We do not shy away from responsibility and we remain relentlessly committed to doing our best as a team in everything that we do.

You are not alone in your efforts to make a mark for yourselves, your families and your country.

To the ‘Development Team’ much is expected of you in Munich, Germany at the Oktoberfest 7s competition, the Oceania 7s tournament and other 7s tournaments outside of the HSBC Sevens Series.

I am informed that the team includes three Under-20 players.

While these competitions are a stepping stone to further develop your skills and build depth in the national team it is also an opportunity to represent our beloved country on the world stage.

Fiji is no longer just a dot on the global map, we may be small in physical landmass but we are giants when it comes to the world stage whether it is in sports, entertainment or politics Fiji punches way above its belt in achievements.

We certainly did not accomplish our national achievements overnight.

These accomplishments are results of a series of planning, creative strategies and sacrifices.
In sports vocabulary, we have a workable and winning attitude.

I am confident you have also mapped out your game plans, and that your training in these past weeks has prepared you well to do battle on the field of play. 

I have every confidence that you can achieve your goals if you continue to work as a team.

I thank your Coach, Manager and Officials for getting you ready physically, mentally, tactically, and I am sure, spiritually too.

Spiritual messages like that shared by Reverend Tigarea this afternoon should help strengthen you spiritually.

I also acknowledge the support and sacrifices made by your respective families and sponsors.

Fijians all over the world excitedly look forward to another world seven series.

And we all pray that you will be successful in your endeavours.

Please play to the best of your abilities and be exemplary ambassadors for Fiji both on and off the field.

Represent your country with passion and pride. 

Au sa mai ciqoma na nomuni itatau kemuni na cauravou!

Be assured that our Prayers and good wishes are with you always.

May God bless you all and our beloved nation, Fiji.

Vinaka Vakalevu and thank you.