Rugby tourist shares experience

By Ivamere Nataro ,

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JJ Taulagi and Sailosi Vatubua in Samoa for the Vailima Pure Marist International 7s tournament that ends today.

JJ Taulagi and Sailosi Vatubua in Samoa for the Vailima Pure Marist International 7s tournament that ends today. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Rugby is what brought Sailosi Vatubua, a Fiji born New Zealander, to Samoa’s shores for the first time. 

When approached by the Dear Tourist team after their match yesterday, Sailosi says Samoa’s weather is something to be reckoned with, especially coming from a place that’s a lot cooler than the tropics. 

“Experience has been good. For me, it would have to be the weather, it’s trying to get acclimatized to the weather on the first day we got here, because we went straight to training,” Sailosi said. 

The young man is the winger for the Auckland Marist team that flew in from New Zealand for the two-day Vailima Marist International 7s tournament that concludes today. 

Not only is Sailosi keen to share his experience, JJ Taulagi, also a Samoa born New Zealander, jumped on the bandwagon to talk about the bond between the boys in the team and their time in Samoa.  “I’m Samoan and we’re just trying to get the boys to get used to the humidity and telling them the difference between New Zealand and Samoa and hopefully come day two (today) everything will be OK for the boys,” said JJ, who plays first five, centre and winger for the team.

The boys’ experience of Samoans in New Zealand is a difference they encountered, especially for Sailosi. 

“Samoans in Samoa know how to speak Samoan and Samoans in NZ don’t. Other than that everyone’s just friendly, calling out to the Fijian boys’ bula, bula, it’s good, and the boys enjoy it,” JJ said. 

Sailosi added: “Another experience is that their eyes, when they like they keep looking at you, especially when you’re a first timer to Samoa and it’s kind of intimidating sometimes, but we’ve been taught to just nod our heads and just smile.”

Dear Tourist had to ask the driving force behind their team.

“Team bonding is centered on Fiji’s way of devotion and way towards the sport,” Sailosi said referring to the chorus they echoed as a team after their game yesterday. 

JJ explained: “The way we approach things is from the perspective of the Fijians, you know Fijians are the master of 7s so we’re like going with how the Fiji team play the game.”

Such a bond resonates in their love for their culture and embracing other Pacific cultures, as evident from the boys learning to speak each other’s mother tongue. 

The team leaves on Monday and according to them; Sunday is a day for sightseeing. 

And while JJ will be spending a few more days in Samoa with his family, Sailosi plans to return, only when it’s a bit cooler. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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