January, it’s the time when people kick off the ‘new year, new me’ resolutions to get back to that healthy weight, or improved lifestyle take over and fresh enthusiasm for the big year ahead rings loudly in the ears.
For our Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Frank Lomani and Mesu Dolokoto, the roll over into 2019 has inspired much the same enthusiasm towards the year ahead, but with the carrot of a place in the Rugby World Cup squad dangling in front of them, their resolve is sure to be a lot more determined than most other people.
Dolokoto and Lomani have both turned down overseas offers to remain on island in Fiji and focus on their rugby and the philosophy behind the decision is something to be admired of the two young prospects.
Debuting in the 2018 June Test Series for the Flying Fijians the young hooker has made the most of his opportunities for both the Fiji Airways Drua and Flying Fijians, securing game time in all three tests during the European tour. Despite receiving offers, he has remained at home for 2019, with bigger picture in focus.
“This time of year is about getting the body right for a big year, and I wanted to take the lead and focus on doing that stuff here in Fiji” said Dolokoto.
“I want to give myself the best chance to be selected and that means getting the body right and being ready if I get the chance, for whatever team, so I turned down overseas offers and wanted to take the lead on staying at home.”
“Keep my focus on playing rugby for the right reasons.”
Flying Fijian half-back Frank Lomani has followed suit with his Suva based team mate, also choosing to deny off shore deals to remain in Fiji.
“This is a big year for me and for the boys who are working towards a place in the big team, the Flying Fijians” he said.
“I don’t feel the need to be overseas, we have all the resources we need here in Fiji to be world class. We have the gym, the coaches, the fields and if we want to reach the semi finals in the World Cup, we are already professional enough with the resources on island to achieve that.”
“It’s up to us about how much we want it, and how hard we are prepared to work for it. Rugby is not all about the money, and if I went overseas now, I’d be going through over 2 years without a break, and potentially harming my chances for Fiji.”
“Even metal corrodes, and you need to rest, so I decided to stay home and just do the work here for this year. I have a plan, and I want to trust that plan, be patient with it and do all I can to see it come to fruition.”
Dolokoto and Lomani have reunited with fellow Swire Shipping Warriors and Drua team mates to form a pre-season squad in Suva and the pair say the comraderie amongst the tight knit group makes the gruellilng sessions worth the pain.
“We’re grateful to have a few of us local Flying Fijians, Warriors and Drua boys altogether for this block of training. We’re all putting in the work to get the body’s into shape ahead of a big year, and to have the comraderie that we have built from the past year, makes it all a lot more enjoyable” said Dolokoto.
“If we can be consistent from our 2018 and take things up another level, we’ll put ourselves in the best position to earn a place when selections come through the year” said Lomani.