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Source: Ministry of Information
Fiji may have lost the rugby test match with Scotland, but there was much to be gained from the visit by the Scots when $15,000 was raised to help flood victims of the Western Division.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama on Saturday participated in an auction hosted by the Fiji Rugby Union to raise funds for the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Appeal Fund. The function was attended by both the Scottish team and the Flying Fijians.
The head of Government thanked the Scotland Rugby Union for exposing the Fijians to Tier One rugby and for coming out to support the worthy cause.
“As a small island in the Pacific Ocean, it is easy for the world to pass us by with very little understanding of the events and tragedies that often befall us,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
“The floods of last March, particularly in the Western Division devastated communities big and small, rich and poor.
“I know the Scottish team recently visited one village that was affected by the floods and brought with them from the lochs (locks) and glens of bonnie Scotland their own brand of joy to sunny Fiji through the donation of playing gear,” he said.
An ardent rugby follower himself, the Prime Minister told the visitors that there were fewer greater passions in Fiji than rugby that unites but at the same time has the ability to devastate the hopes and dreams of the nation.
The auction took place in the backdrop of the Fiji-New Zealand Business Council meeting, which also marked the council’s 25th anniversary. On auction were brand new rugby jerseys, jerseys worn by players during international outings, all of which were autographed by the players, as well as other rugby memorabilia and many others that had the players, businessmen and rugby administrators digging into their pockets.
Flying Fijians captain Netani Talei thanked the Scotland Rugby Union for giving them an opportunity to play. He maintained that despite the loss, it was a good experience for the boys, especially since they did their best but the better team won at the end of the day.
The crowd was left in stitches with the witty and reminiscent tales of the rugby career of former All Black, Glen Osbourne, as he recounted some of the highlights while wearing the All Black jersey. The Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Appeal Fund is to help in the rehabilitation efforts of Government towards people devastated by the last two floods.