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Emotional win for Fiji at Las Vegas sevens

Thursday 10 March 2016 | Published in Regional

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LAS VEGAS – Fiji fans broke security lines jumping over the embankment running to the field to congratulate the Vodafone Fiji 7s team at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday.

There were two reasons why they did it – first was their happiness in that the team managed to win the heart-stopping match coming from 0-15 down in the first half to win 21-15.

Second, every Fijian in the stand wanted a win for Fiji and all those affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Many have said that sevens rugby unites the country. Severe TC Winston is the other, uniting the country in grief and sorrow but with a stronger determination to “rise again”, the Fiji Times reports.

But if anything that had the power to make Fiji happy, it would be sevens rugby.

Fans were in tears when the national anthem was sung before the game and after the game when Fiji won.

“For Winston”, some screamed.

One fan said: “I left Fiji 42 years ago but it will always be in my heart. I still visit every year and we are always thinking of you people back home.”

Sevens wizard Waisale Serevi also said the team needed to win the tournament for those in Fiji.

Fiji had a strong vocal support and the “noble blue banner” was in almost every corner of the stadium. There were more Fiji flags in the stand than any other flag.

National captain Osea Kolinisau dedicated the victory to all in Fiji.

The euphoria of winning had some fans with half their bodies out of their cars waving Fiji flags and screaming “go Fiji go”on the Las Vegas freeway.

National coach Ben Ryan said the support from the Fijian community had been tremendous.

Fiji currently leads the World Series Standings with 91 points, second place is South Africa with 86 points, in third place is New Zealand with 82 points, Australia is fourth with 73 points. - Fiji Times/ PNC

Villagers describe the surge of the cyclone

SAVUSAVU – Villagers of Nukubalavu village in Savusavu, Fiji, have told how they watched in awe as waves broke and headed towards shore, growing to great heights as they drew closer to land.

From the village lawn, a distance of about 200 metres from shore, the village youths watched the waves, about seven metres high, thump against coconut trees, gushed onto the lawn covering most of the village green, uprooting houses by the shoreline.

Village headman Lino Rokowaqa said the loose houses were sailing through the village like big boats out in the sea.

“That day the cyclone came, was so terrifying. All the villagers were in the Catholic church taking shelter and the waves whacked the windows and cracked it,” he said.

“Water came into the church and we had to move to the hall in higher ground where some villagers were already.

“So all the men came and we took the children and women to the hall with the water level to our waist. It was a scary evening for us.”

Rokowaqa, who had informed the villagers about the cyclone and asked them to get prepared, said the 61 families of the village were all affected.

“At 10am, the wind strength started picking up and waves were getting stronger.

“The villagers watched the strength of Severe TC Winston damage properties for five hours.

“And it never died out. The winds and waves remained strong throughout the five hours.”

Tui Nasavusavu, Ratu Golea Lovodua described how his house was uprooted by a strong surge from the sea: “I watched the waves pull out our family house and it rode on the waters like Noah’s Ark.”

- Fiji Times/PNC