Better Support and Resources Critical: Speaker tells AG Regarding Fiji 7s Team

Fiji’s Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu urged for greater recognition and support for the national teams, highlighting the hardships faced by the Fiji 7s team during their trip to the Dubai 7s tournament, the first tournament in the 2023-24 World Rugby 7s Series.

Addressing the Attorney General and Minister for Justice Siromi Turaga in parliament today, Ratu Naiqama recounted his meeting with the Fiji 7s team in the corridors of the Sydney Airport, under then-coach Ben Gollings and Viliame Satala, where they had to sleep in the verandah of the airport.

“This is a sad occassion, being champions, they are placed highly in the World Rugby 7s Series, and they had to sleep in the verandah of the airport,”Ratu Naiqama said. “When they arrived into Dubai, they were glorified again, after they had just woken up from the veranadah outside. This is a team that has been written and rated all over the world as being the best, yet this is what they encoutner.

“That affects the morale. And we know as rugby players, once your morale is affected, 100% performance is not there. They didn’t have the warm up or the warm down clothing, and I was asked to deliver their jerseys. That was the very thing they wore during the warm-up, [and] the game, and they lost. Honorable AG, be grateful if you take note of that because that is what coach Ben Gollings, Viliame Satala and the rest of the team encountered.”

Ratu Naiqama reiterated the need for proper and adequate support and resources for national teams given its impact on team morale and performance.

Charitable trusts such as Fiji Rugby Union Trust Board are registered under the Ministry of Justice.

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