By Alipate Pareti
Paula Tuanoka, 62, travelled all the way from Dogotuki, Vanua Levu in the village of Vitina just to witness the Super Rugby spectacles of the Fijian Drua last Saturday.
“This is the first time for me to come and watch the game live here at the grounds.”
“I left Labasa on Friday and started to make my way across to Viti Levu. And today, I’m happy to be here.”
The game at Churchill Park, Lautoka was significant for Tuanoka as he came to watch one of his nephews play for the Drua.
“I came to support one of my nephews, Frank Lomani. He is the half back of the Fijian Drua and has been playing really well this season. I think I’m the first one from my village to come and watch the game live at the grounds and I’m happy about that too.”
Another rugby fan who was pumped for the game was 23-year-old Solomoni Muaduaduakibau, from Naikawaga, Namara, Tailevu.
“I’m here today for just one reason – to watch the Moana Pasifika team and support Timoci Tavatavanawai. He is my elder brother.”
“I have been following his games on TV and to see him play here at home is something very special. I’m proud of his achievements and what he continues to do in rugby.”
After the game, Timoci Tavatavanawai’s family held a “vakamamaca” (traditional welcoming ceremony) for him, to signify his first-ever Super Rugby game in Fiji.
Timoci’s mother, Melania Raquina said, “He’s been wanting to play in front of his family and friends in Fiji and today he got his chance to do that.”