March 28, 2021
Ravuka Sharks Captain Simeli Karacia, who scored two tries in the U21 grade final of the 45th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s and received the Best Player award has dedicated their win to all the farmers in Nadroga.
Karacia's Sharks overcame reigning champions Dominion Brothers 12-10 in the final.
He said before the team reached Suva, they all vowed to win the Under 21 title for the farmers who were severely impacted by the recent Cyclone Ana.
“We are really happy of the win and this win is not for us, it’s for all those farmers who lost all their root crops and vegetables in the cyclone. Most of the farmers in Nadroga were left with nothing because their farms were washed away by the food waters and we saw the tears in the eyes of them.”
“We are all village boys and only some of us attend university and others work on the farm to support our parents. This victory is also to my team members who sacrificed their time from farm and school just to train for two weeks and then come down to Suva to play and win.”
“We promised our families to return with a victory and I’m sure they all prayed for us because their blessing is something we really believe in. We needed the win and for that we fought since day one, continued our unbeaten record and in the quarterfinal we were confident to reach the final.”
An emotional 20-year-old said this win personally means a lot to him as he missed his parents who could not see them play in the final.
“My parents are at home in Semo and it’s the first time ever I won this award in a big tournament like Marist. Here in Fiji, this is like the Hong Kong tournament and my dream was that my parents see me play but they couldn’t come down.”
“I just want to say Mum and Dad this award is for you and thank you for encouraging and always allowing me to play rugby. I come from a farming background and I saw the days my father struggled to sell the root crops just to buy my school books. That moment of my life always reminds me to never work hard and always strive for success.”
The Semo, Nadroga native said he will celebrate the win with his parents today with a Church service at home to celebrate Palm Sunday.
“I just got a call from home and my parents have already organised a church function for us and we will celebrate our win with Palm Sunday to thank the Almighty for giving us the strength and courage to win today.”
By Romeka Romena