PETERSFIELD Rugby Club continue their proud association with Fijians serving in the UK Armed Forces when the club again hosts the UK Fijians seven-a-side tournament this Saturday (August 12).
For 2017, the organisers have invited Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath & England winger), Isoa Damudamu (England 7s) and Apolosi Satala (Fijian 7s and full international) to join the celebration of family and rugby that the competition represents.
The Fijian High Commissioner to the UK, Jitoko Tikolevu, will make a welcome return to Penns Place to watch the spectacle and present the trophies to the winners of the three levels of competition: Bowl, Plate and Cup.
Last year, 20 teams took part, drawn from different units, garrisons and military locations. Some play for their particular units, but others put together teams based on their provinces or church groups.
The competition, established in 2013, seeks to replicate the Fijian tradition whereby families from neighbouring villages get together; the families sit around the pitches to pray, have fun with the children and support their rugby teams.
Family is very important to Fijians and rugby is a way of life, so gatherings around games are very much in the national psyche and a big part of the community.
If the pool games weren’t enough to showcase the talent and raw skill that make Fiji one of the leading sevens specialists in the world of rugby (and current Olympic champions), the semi-finals and finals take the passion and pace to another level.
Petersfield RFC chairman Stuart Barden said the club were honoured at being given the chance to support this event once more. “We are delighted that the organisers chose to return to Petersfield. The club has always been connected with the services and we are always keen to forge closer links wherever we can. Somewhat selfishly, it also brings high quality seven-a-side rugby to our doorstep.”
The clubhouse facilities will be open for the event and everyone is welcome to support the event, whether by helping Petersfield’s own rugby family to give the Fijian visitors a day to remember or simply to witness a masterclass of sevens rugby.