Nauru rugby team keen on growing game back home
Rugby union is not popular in Nauru but the rugby 7s team representing the northern Pacific state were determined to learn as much as they could about the sport during the 2019 Pacific Games.
The 7s team coach Dagan Kaierua told the Samoa Observer that the sport is new in his country and is therefore not popular, consequently their participation in the Games is a good opportunity for them to experience the matches and learn new skills.
“Back at home rugby is not popular and we have only three rugby clubs who are competing for a national sport level,” he said.
Kaierua said some of his players have not touch a rugby ball in the last three years, but they did that during the 2019 Pacific Games and the team is determine to establish a pathway for children back home to consider playing the sport.
“Most of the guys here did not touch a rugby ball and they finally after three years and they are already at the age of 25 upwards and rugby is very new at home and now we have made path way for our kids,” he added.
Their overall goal was not to win a medal but to finish fifth or sixth in the rankings after the Pacific Games. Their goal appeared to be on target when the team beat New Caledonia 21-17 and Wallis and Futuna 27-12, but then lost to Fiji 50-0 before losing the chance to finish fifth in the competition when they lost to Solomon Islands 12-27.
“We always target the top five, after the two day tournament we reach our goal to play off for the 6th and 5th place,” he added.
Beside the rugby qualifier matches, Kaierua said Nauru team is loving the hospitality and accommodation at the Games village in Faleula as well as their overall experience in Samoa despite the bad weather.
“We really enjoy the experience also the hospitality lovely the preparation and the thing they did to organise the team,the atmosphere here at the Pacific Games is great, and the guys are enjoying it from rainy days to sunny days which is the Samoa climate,” he added.