RWC Diary Day 11 - Nicky Little
09 September, 2011
|Nicky LIttle (right) hands team mate and captain Deacon Manu his playing jersey. |
Do you remember back in the day those old scratch-and-sniff t-shirts? You’d scratch the picture of the fruit on the t-shirt and it would smell of that fruit. Well if you could do that with a photo of where we’re currently staying you’d get the smell of rotten eggs! That’s because we’re in New Zealand’s Sulphur City – Rotorua – where geo-thermal activity has caused a number of natural wonders which includes geysers, mud pools and the emission of hydrogen sulphide which gives the city a permanent rotten-eggs smell.
However once you get over the smell you find yourself in a wonderful part of New Zealand with not only the striking features of volcanic activity around you but also lakes and an incredible forest which surrounds you. We’re in the heartland of the North Island and it truly is breath-taking – in many ways.
The Rugby World Cup media here is interesting, reading the local papers and listening to the local media you’d barely know Fiji, or Namibia for that matter, were even competing in the RWC. There’s been a great deal of focus on Tonga and Samoa but barely anything on the Flying Fijians.
Not that it’s worrying anyone. In fact it seems to be quite a relief to have landed under the radar where the media is concerned at least. The most media attention the team’s received in New Zealand was when they touched down at Auckland Airport on 29 August. Since then the media have more or less focused their attention on almost every other team while the Flying Fijians have gone about their business patiently and quietly.
The team held their captain’s run this afternoon at the Rotorua International Stadium. A grand sounding name for a ground that is relatively modest, though it does have a fantastic surface. Grass cut like carpet you almost feel like you want to roll around on it.
In the evening there was an extremely emotional jersey presentation ceremony as Fijian great Nicky Little handed out the jerseys to his team mates. The room was charged with emotion as he spoke, and with tears streaming down his face he faced his fellow players and team officials and urged each person in the room to give their very best. It’s not common to see a room of grown men trying to hold back their emotions but there were many big and strong players struggling this evening.
The Flying Fijians were honoured to have the presence of Ms Mere Tora, Fiji’s High Commissioner in New Zealand, during their church service and jersey presentation ceremony.
Anyway Israel Dagg’s just scored the first try of the Rugby World Cup, so that’s enough for now I’m off to watch the rest of the game.
Until tomorrow, moce mada. View video of Nicky Little's speech View the Flying Fijians RWC 2011 photo gallery.
Related articles: RWC Diary Day 9 - Paul Feeney RWC Diary Day 10 - Fiji named