Sport: Winston weighs heavy on minds of Fiji's sevens team
The Fiji sevens team are hoping to put some smiles on the faces of people back home this weekend, following the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston.
The devastation caused by Cyclone Winston has weighed heavy on the minds of the Fiji sevens team as they prepare for this weekend's tournament in Las Vegas.
The defending World Series champions, who lead the current standings after four rounds, took time out of their training schedule over the past fortnight to help with the clean-up and recovery in Fiji.
Team Manager Ropate Kauvesi told Vinnie Wylie the cyclone has been the main topic of conversation among the squad.
ROPATE KAUVESI: The biggest one is emotionally because the boys have seen what has happened in the country: people were sleeping outside, no food and just the clothes on their back - something that basically has been the main topic when they boys sit around in the evening. It has affected some of the boys as well, personally, in terms of their homes losing corrugated iron roofing and then having to do as much as they can at home before coming out to training camp. Their families do appreciate what they do, knowing that they have to train, and with them carrying Fiji's hope on their shoulders, they allow their sons, husbands to come to training while they try and sort things out at home, so we managed to get into camp and get things started but bearing in mind what's happening around us.
VINNIE WYLIE: So did you lose a couple of days to training?
RK: Yeah we lost pretty much a day and a half of training. The boys staggered into camp and we said to the boys "do as much as you can at home. When all is ok then come in."
VW: And to Las Vegas - a tournament where you're the defending champions and I guess you want to do well on the field, you want to defend your position in the world series all well knowing that back home a lot of people are still doing it very tough.
RK: We're going to go out and try and put a fewsmiles on the faces of our people here at home, knowing that the majority of the island won't be watching us on television. The majority will be listening in on radio stations, back to what it was in the early 1980s before we had TV in Fiji because the majority of these places don't have electricity. The powers for full satellite transmissions are down and especially in the outer islands I'm not sure whether they will be able to listen to transistor radio. The team will be going full force and putting a smile on the face of our people when we're out there on the field.
VW: Does this add even more motivation or does this add more pressure? When all this sort of stuff happens what is the mindset, what do you say to the players who have obviously had a difficult time themselves, and their families - is it easy to keep them focused on the task ahead in terms of sevens on the field?
RK: The pressure will always be around for the Fiji team travelling into any tournament because there's more room for motivation for us, knowing what our people are going through, and basically what we can give back to them. At the end of the day rugby is such a big thing in Fiji, especially sevens - for us it's more [reason] for motivation.
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