The surname Matawalu is synonymous with rugby in Fiji.
Brothers Nikola and Peni have both represented Fiji on the international rugby scene and while Nikola is now plying his trade in Wales, Peni continues his journey with the Fijian Drua.
Yet what could be a bigger and better achievement was launched this week with the help of their sister-in-law Helen, when they opened their unique eatery called ‘The Rugby Cafe – Matawalu’s Milk Bar’ in Sigatoka town.
With a laid back yet modern setting, the cafe gives customers a relaxed feel coupled with good food.
In an interview, former hotelier Helen said the idea to open up a cafe was put together five years ago as a means of getting the brothers to put plans in place for a family business venture.
“These brilliant men have always put God and family first and so when this idea came up we knew it was workable with the input they all had including my experience as a manager at Shangri La’s Fijian Resort in Sigatoka. There is nothing like working with and for family especially when all sides are invested to see that it is successful,” Helen said.
“Peni and I sat down after he returned from the Rugby Word Cup and we began putting the plans together because we as a team knew this was an opportunity not to be missed.”
Speaking on behalf of his siblings, Peni told MaiTV that the cafe was definitely an investment for the future.
“I won’t be playing rugby forever. I have had to start thinking about what will sustain me financially after my days of playing competitive rugby are over. And so when my sister in law brought the idea up both Nikola and I embraced it because we knew this was something meaningful for us and our families too.”
Helen says the choosing of Sigatoka was ideal because of how rugby is loved in the province.
‘What is important about this cafe is that it is for the locals. It’s spacious and boasts a variety of food with special names alluding to rugby such as Tuisova Bus Burgers, Serevi scones and Line out Toasties. We wanted to do something nice for the local people and this being the rugby town we realised there is no other place that has more rugby enthusiasts and players like Nadroga.
“It’s a busy little town with lots of tourists, locals pass through here on their way to Nadi and to Suva so being strategically placed was important.”
The cafe is located at the town end of the Sigatoka bridge, along the row of shops next to the Jacks of Fiji outlet.