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.
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.
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.
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.