November 25, 2021
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Raturaciri eager to follow Lomani's path

Debutant Iowane Raturaciri who is the younger brother of Flying Fijian Frank Lomani says Lomani encouraged him to play rugby and is his role model.
 
Raturaciri told FijiLive that while he was part of the Fiji 7s extended squad training in Suva, he felt like quitting and returning back to Savusavu but Lomani stopped him.
 
Raturaciri described the challenges he faced in doing the 7s training and said it was the toughest ever thing he went through in life.
 
“It wasn’t easy doing the professional training.”
 
“I called my brother Frank and told him I want to quit.”
 
“I told him I just can’t.”
 
“The training was not easy. It was very tough and challenging especially with the type of food we had to eat.”
 
“Sometimes I felt like running away but Frank told me ‘don’t quit.”
 
“He told me that if I quit now, I might never get a selection in the Fiji 7s team in the near future.”
 
“That made me scared but at the same time I realized that this is the one time opportunity only.”
 
“He told me to just stay calm and learn from the other senior players in the team. That’s what I did and I went smoothly with the training.”
 
“His words of advice was ‘Don’t lose hope because you yourself are a hope. You have to sweat and that will lead to success in life.’ Those words really encouraged me.”
 
The 22-year-old played for Dominion Brothers in 2020 but this year he joined Raiwasa Taveuni with his uncle Iowane Teba.
 
“Dominion was where I started my local competition from. That team gave me a name and also I learnt more about rugby from there.”
 
“I grew a lot of experience as a winger and flyhalf.”
 
“Before rugby I used to work on the farm and helped my family but then Raiwasa formed a team and my uncle asked if I could join them so I saw a new opportunity and said yes.”
 
“Raiwasa gave me a lot of game time and also an opportunity to play against tough teams and national 7s players.”
 
“When I played against the 7s players I felt like we were in an international arena playing against New Zealand, South Africa and England.”
 
The Nawaido in Bua native said his tall height is an advantage to him as a winger.
 
“Yes, my height helps me to push the players away in the scrum and also during tackles. That’s my added advantage and my height has helped me to maintain a good form.”
 
“This year during COVID-19 pandemic I gained a bit of weight but as soon as the restrictions were eased Frank advised me to do my personal training.”
 
“He also sent me some money to buy training equipment and that helped me a lot. I was able to return to my usual form and now here I am.”
 
“I’m really happy to be part of the team and also excited to play my first international tournament. As a debutant, I know it will be a good exposure but I will also need to work really hard and stay determined.”
 
“Yes, I’m really eager to score tries and I want my parents and siblings to hear my name being called out when I score the try. That’s another reason I didn't quit because I want to make my parents proud and see them happy,” he added.
 
Dubai 7s will kick off on Friday with Fiji playing France at 8.22pm followed by the match against Canada at 12.12am before facing Australia at 4.33pm on Saturday.
 
By Romeka Romena   


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