RWC Diary Day 4 - Ohope Beach School
03 September, 2011
|Children at Ohope Beach School welcome the Flying Fijians. |
Primary School students of Ohope Beach School gave the Flying Fijians an emotional welcome to their school at midday today after the players had completed their morning training session. The primary school pupils put on a traditional Maori dance on behalf of the players and waved small Fiji flags to show their support for Fiji.
The players were so moved they sang an impromptu song for their young hosts, which was warmly appreciated, and then signed various items including a Fiji Rugby jersey for the kids. The team is certainly having an effect on the townsfolk of Ohope and Whakatane with people in both towns greeting the players wherever they go, while the Mayor of Whakatane joined the team for its church service in the evening.
On the training front, and after a day of rest, it was very much head down and back into the nitty-gritty of things with the morning session taken up by various game play situations. With Fiji’s game against Namibia only seven days away, there’s now a competitive edge for places in the starting XV as assistant coach Shannon Fraser reveals,
“We’ve got some amazing talent within the group and everyone’s competing for positions,” Fraser said.
“The boys are training very well, we’ve had a couple of speed humps along the way with some little niggles but all have come through very well, so it’s a very competitive group at the moment.”
One player staking a strong claim for selection into the starting line-up against Namibia is Kasavu villager and former Nadi flyhalf, Waisea Luveniyali.
“I’m just really excited to be back playing again and playing for Fiji and also for the World Cup,” Luveniyali said.
The UK-based player is certainly not taking first round opponents Namibia for granted.
“They’re a really good team and we’re not counting them out because they have lots of players playing overseas in the UK and the Currie Cup (South Africa), so yeah it’s going to be tough.
Meanwhile, just to lighten proceedings this afternoon, Fraser offered $50 (New Zealand dollars!) to any player who could hit the crossbar from beyond the 22m line by any means whatsoever.
Fullback and sometimes winger Iliesa Keresoni won the bet with a kick that landed on top of the crossbar. Keresoni’s joy though was short lived as two and a half hours later he was fined $60 at the player’s court session for having failed to pay an earlier fine.
O well, such is life – you win some and then lose a bit more.
Until tomorrow, moce mada. View training highlights from Day 4
View full interview with Shannon Fraser
View full interview with Waisea Luveniyali
View the gallery of the Flying Fijians in New Zealand
Related articles: RWC Diary Day 2 - Injured wingers RWC Diary Day 3 - Rest day