BY BRIAN LEZUTUNI
In Suva, Fiji
THE National Rugby 7s team exposure to competitions in Fiji has been praised by former Wallaby and Fiji Rugby great, Illivasi Tabua.
Mr Tabua who is currently the mentor of the Solomon Islands Rugby Union made the comments during the Soltuna 7s rugby competition held in Suva, Fiji over the weekend.
In light of the 7s strong performance which saw them finishing third, Tabua said in order for the country to develop the game, there needs to be exposure to where the competition is at a high level.
“One thing is to bring them to Fiji, where they are well known for sevens around the world having won the Olympics and a number of World Series.
“The more you play with the best you become the best, and exposing them to competitions here draws the needed attention to them as a team.
He said the decision to bring the team over to participate in both the Soltuna 7s and the upcoming Marist 7s competition is the way forward.
Meanwhile, coach of the Bali- Bita’ama rugby club from Wailoku, Armstrong Koka said the weekend competition was a big occasion for people of Solomon Islands descent living in Fiji.
He said it was a day for them to come together and meet families, friends and fellow Solomon Islanders living and studying here in Fiji.
“It’s a big thing for us, especially the ones born in Fiji to strengthen the links back to the islands where they originally come from.
He thanked organizers Soltuna for coming out and having the initiative to sponsor this tournament, as well the mentor of Solomon Islands Rugby Illivasi Tabua and Coach Alifereti Mocelutu for coming up with this idea for searching talents in Solomon Islanders living in Fiji.
The Solomon Islands Mens 7s team finished last weekend’s competition on third place, after they lost to Koio Rugby club in the semi-finals by only two points. They managed to regather their momentum to beat Islanders Rugby team in the losers final to secure third place. Both the Men’s 7s team and Islanders from Honiara will be competing at the Marist 7s starting this Friday.
The Marist 7s in its 42nd year is dubbed the biggest sevens carnival in the world. Apart from teams from Fiji, the Papua New Guinea Pukpuks who recently turned heads at the Sydney and Hamilton 7s series by beating core teams such as France, Russia and Spain will be in attendance as well as from the PNG Highlands and Tuvalu’s 7s team.