“The biggest challenge for us was trying to get the public to support womens rugby here in Fiji, we had the opportunity to go to the Olympics to prove that Fijian women can play rugby and get medals too, and we did just that.”
These were the sentiments shared by Fijiana captain Rusila Nagasau as she explained how the Fijiana had another task to fulfil, other than clinching an Olympics medal.
In an interview with Fiji Rugby media, Nagasau reiterated how they (Fijiana) set out on a mission not only aiming for gold but to bring the utmost glory to womens rugby in Fiji, which “we deserved,” she said.
Nagasau emphasised how they were aiming to ignite supporters’ passion and the love towards Fijiana and womens rugby in Fiji, and the team knew there’s no other best place to win the nations hearts other than the Olympics arena itself.
The captain said that their Olympics campaign was also a campaign to bring recognition to womens rugby in Fiji knowing that it’s the right platform to showcase their ability, and dismiss the patriarchal stereotype towards rugby in Fiji.
“One of our main aims heading to the Olympics was to restore womens rugby back here at home,” said Nagasau.
“We usually see our men’s team taking to the podium winning medals and tournaments, and that challenges us,” she added.
The captain explained how head coach Saiasi Fuli played a very crucial role in changing this prevalent thought of male dominance in rugby here in Fiji.
“The biggest change coach Fuli did with our team was changing the culture and the mindset within the team,” said Nagasau.
“Our achievement has proved that not only for rugby but all other sports in Fiji, that our women can also reach that level,” said Nagasau.
The Fijiana set out on a journey to bring glory to womens rugby in the country, and Fijiana captain Nagasau urges the whole country to support the inclusivity of women’s participation in all sports in Fiji.
“What we’re urging now is the same support and treatment for womens sport in Fiji and we know this will help not only women’s rugby but other sports to step up to another level,” she added.
Nagasau shared how she’s eager to help in the development of rugby for the upcoming new generation of players in Fiji.
“For me right now, i just want to get them(upcoming players) right on board, we have opened the door for them, there’s big opportunities in front of us and we want to go back and help out the grassroots here in Fiji,” said Nagasau.
“I’m really hoping to see a lot of girls coming in and joining rugby.”