In the first #My7sClub edition of the new year, we continue our global coverage with a feature on a team from Nadi in Fiji, the country blessed with the most talented 7s players in the world and the first-ever nation to win Gold at the Olympics in Rio.
Launched in 2012, Yamacia Rugby started with an admirable vision in mind. The idea was to provide those less privileged ones, the school dropouts, and unemployed young men an opportunity to explore their talent in the world of rugby, around the globe, as the club’s PR Officer Ēĺiki Dakuitoga told us.
The team from the province Navosa, in the centre of the Pacific island, thought the direct translation of the word Yamacia, which means “cheering someone to go hard and hit harder”, would be the ideal label for the club. Without a doubt, this project has covered the hard yards in the last few years and deservedly achieved remarkable milestones.
Hard, solid work helped many former Yamacia players to make it to the top of the game and are contracted with some of the biggest clubs in the world. Making it all the way to the professional level is an invaluable achievement for any aspiring young player and securing so many successful contracts is considered as a huge success for Yamacia.
The current club record of successful products containes five Fijian national players, including Olympian Semi Kunatani and that just covers the domestic record. Another, five players are earning their money in France, eight in Australia, four in Malaysia and another four in New Zealand.
Among the many glamorous rewards, that come with the modern lifestyle of a professional athlete, the most satisfying one is certain to enjoy a high living standard, not just for yourself but also for the family, something which wouldn’t be possible without the sport.
However, the coaches mission reaches way beyond guiding talents to the top of the game. It’s much more about using rugby to drive a person’s life from being isolated with so much negativity and low self-esteem to some light in the wider world and making most of the potential.
The whole programme deserves a lot of credit, considering that the facilities and infrastructures are way below any professional standards. Ēĺiki calls it the “old school” way of training, it’s all about making the most of what’s given.
Most experience is gained from entering and playing plenty of local tournaments on the island. But that doesn’t mean that the squad doesn’t travel overseas. Last year they jumped on a plane to make the long journey to Paris, competing and sensationally winning the tough Centrale 7s, an international tournament featuring many of the world’s best teams. The funding for such expensive trips is mainly raised through donations and other fundraising activities.
This year all eyes are on another busy 7s season and they approach it in a two-step process. First, Yamacia aims to win more local tournaments with a newly developed 30-men strong squad and secondly, once the players gained the necessary experience, securing more high-profile contracts.
If things work out as planned, the club is aiming to become self-sustained in the long run and be its own business. An ambitious plan, but the past has shown, Yamacia isn’t scared of aiming high and going hard.
Find out more
#My7sClub is a brand-new blog series, featuring every week one of the many awesome 7s teams from around the world. We caught up with the heroes who invest countless hours, raise funding are coaches, team managers and players in one person and give it all in order to keep their beloved team running. Read their exciting stories on our blog. If you and your team like to be featured in this series, just contact us. We are excited to hear your story.