The term ‘Tri Nations’ in sport refers to a competition between three nations, and is a common term for rugby competitions. Today the Fiji under 16 and under 18 school’s rugby teams were farewelled before heading off to the Schools Rugby International Tri-Nations series in Australia.
When sports teams head to international competitions overseas it is traditional for them to receive a blessing before they go. While not all teams or athletes seek a blessing it is an honour to be able to represent Fiji and part of the ceremony involves the team presenting a traditional tabua as an offering to the president.
Another traditional part of the ceremony is the Reverend praying for the team on behalf of the nation. Today Reverend Aminiasi Radrodro the Home Mission Director from the Assemblies of God bestowed the prayer. In his sermon he talked from Psalm 27, The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid. “This is the highest level” of service Radrodro said. As young people who have previously played for their club or school, Radrodro encouraged the players with this verse as they step up to represent their country. In representing Fiji this is a higher level. “We are ordinary men but we serve an extraordinary God.” Radrodro said. “When you are representing the nation you make sure that you have God as your strength in the battle field, and rely on him to make the right decisions.”
President George Konrote’s message to the team was again one of representing the country well. Fiji plays Rugby in alignment with all international rules and standards and has invested a significant amount of money into the sport. This has paid off with the Olympic gold medal won by the Fijian Sevens team in 2016. In order for this success to continue Konrote stated that this group of young players must adapt to the new and bigger surroundings that they will experience in Australia next week.
Story and Photos by: Rosalie Willis