Sterling No.8 Sereima Leweniqila is excited about the prospect of playing in front of her family when she leads the Fijiana XVs out onto the HFC Stadium pitch on Friday for their Test match against the Wahine Maori at 6pm (Fiji Time).
Having seen the Rugby World Cup trophy up close a day earlier as the silverware makes its round in Fiji on its global tour, Leweniqila described it as one of the highlights of her rugby career that spans almost a decade, littered with achievements including their win over Samoa at the 2019 Oceania Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
The win secured Fiji’s spot, in what will also be their first outing in the RWC extravaganza scheduled to take place in New Zealand next month.
Seeing the trophy in person, Leweniqila also said also serves as a much-needed booster for the home side ahead of the match-up.
“It is something before we play our first world up to see it sitting there and realise that this is something we are fighting for. This is what the teams around the world come together as to who will lift the trophy,” Leweniqila said.
“I said for almost a decade of playing I did not realise what the rewards were and where they would end up until that night when I saw the trophy. I told the girls it’s a boost.
However, the drive and the momentum do not end there, the 32-year-old says because like all other players in coach Senirusi Seruvakula’s extended squad, they must fight for a place in his final 32-member squad.
“We are getting to know each other more. It is a good mixture of players, and stronger now and excited to play on Friday to see how that team bonding has worked out. Morale has been good. Most of us are anxious and excited as well to get out there. It will be something new and just seeing our families out there on the stands. I think fighting for the position to play in front of them has been one of the major boosts.”
Leweniqila is of the view that the outcome of the game will hinge on how best the team works together, as was the case during their successful Super W campaign in Australia earlier this year.