World Class Rugby in Sigatoka, Fiji

World Class Sigatoka Rugby

Since rugby was first introduced to Fiji in the late 19th century, it has evolved into the national sport. For such a small and remote group of islands, Fiji has done remarkably well on the international rugby scene. In fact, their national team has made it as far as the semi-finals in the Rugby World Cup. However, their sevens team has taken the Rugby World Cup Sevens two times.

Sigatoka Beach

Don’t miss the amazing black sands of Sigatoka Beach.

The sport of rugby permeates all the way through the local culture of Fiji. As a result, some of the provincial teams are fiercely competitive. Lucky for us Sigatoka is the home of the Nadroga Provincial champion rugby club and we had the opportunity to watch them in action while we were visiting Sigatoka beach.

Fiji Prime Minister at Sigatoka Rugby Match

There were good seats available at midfield and we sat in the VIP section. However, this is in the stands where the general population sits. Apparently, Fiji’s rugby fans can get pretty emotional about the game.

We did not have any issues and everyone was friendly. In fact, we were sitting a few seats away from the Prime Minister of Fiji – Frank Bainimarama. This completely caught us by surprise because he was sitting in the stands with the general public. Although it was not too difficult to spot his security agents that were sitting in close proximity.

We wanted to get some photos of him but be inconspicuous at the same time. Fortunately, my girlfriend had a great idea.

Prime Minister of Fiji at Sigatoka Rugby

Prime Minister Brian Bainimarama is wearing the casual red shirt in between my girlfriend and the tickets.

Prime Minister of Fiji at Sigatoka Rugby

I took advantage of some movement in the stands to get a better picture. Looking at the photo later, it is pretty easy to spot the informally dressed security agents. **Hint – the guys in dark glasses who seem to have taken an interest in my endeavor….this would be my final attempt to photograph the prime minister lest I be mistaken for a Australian.

Anyway, my hunch that he was the prime minister of Fiji was confirmed when he went down to the field to participate in the opening ceremony.

Prime Minister of Fiji at Sigatoka Rugby

The prime minister is seen walking on the field to participate in the opening ceremony at the Sigatoka rugby match.

Prime Minister of Fiji at Sigatoka Rugby

Nadroga vs. Naitasiri

Of course, the home team in Sigatoka is Nadroga. Their opponent was from Naitasiri Province in the Fiji Highlands which is about a 4 hour drive from Sigatoka. However, I was slightly confused because on the scoreboard the visiting team was spelled “Natsiri”. But I suspect that it was a necessary abbreviation due to lack of space.

Sigatoka Rugby

After a brief opening ceremony the Sigatoka rugby match began. The visiting team fought well but Nadroga would soon pull ahead and dominate the match.

Sigatoka Rugby Match

The Sigatoka team is wearing the white Nadroga rugby jersey. They are the reigning provincial champions and would soon be in control.

Sigatoka Rugby Match

The first half was exciting and well fought by both sides.

Sigatoka Rugby

The visiting team from Naitasiri takes the field for the second half.

Sigatoka Rugby Match

As the afternoon shadows grew longer, Nadroga began to dominate the Sigatoka rugby match.

Sigatoka Rugby Match

Nadroga was firmly in control at the start of the second half and they would add to their lead for a convincing 49-10 victory over visiting Naitasiri.

Additional Photos:

Sigatoka Rugby Match

The local Sigatoka fans cheer on the home team.

Sigatoka Rugby Match

We were staying near Sigatoka beach and the Sigatoka rugby field is not far away. We didn’t need a local map because the entire 9,000+ population of Sigatoka was walking to the match – just follow the crowd!

Sigatoka Rugby Match

We were seated next to some friendly guys from New Zealand. They were an excellent distraction for my girlfriend which enabled me to focus on the match.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_union_in_Fiji
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_sevens
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigatoka
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Minister_of_Fiji