I read with great interest comments made regarding our current fantastic sevens-rugby performance in Apia and, I congratulate the boys too, however, thought that we have forgotten a lot about our rugby history (me included), particularly the fact that we were once participants in the Hong Kong sevens! In other words, it is not true that SPG-Samoa mark our first sevens-rugby exposure, maybe for SPG sense or for those SI-sevens-team members but certainly not for rugby sevens history, lest we forget.
I got my sevens-history lesson of such participation directly from the man who has captained our sevens team then to many Hong Kong tournaments in Brisbane. The man is John Bainivalu.
It was in Nov or Dec 2006, I was at the Brisbane airport waiting for a flight back to Honiara when he walked up and ask: iu from Solomon ya? I responded: "you must be John Bainivalu?" I told him that I recognized him right away from my KGVI school days when we the no-bus-fare-students from the provinces would spend most of our weekends watching either soccer or the once-in-a-while-SI-rugby team training.
He was impressed, sat down and told me that he now lives in Tasmania, just retired from playing league and is on his way to PNG to attend the graduation ceremony of his son, who has just completed his medical-doctor studies. I congratulated him and he took out a photo album and ran me through pages of SI-rugby team performances.
The one photo that got my attention was that taken after a match with the Aussie Wallabys and which in the first half Solomon Islands led the mighty Wallabys by 17 to nil! And it was just in the dying minutes of the second half that they managed to score two tries which finally sunk us, according to Mr. Bainivalu.
I recognized from the photo Fa'ako Liolea and Kuper. The latter was the winger and despite being injured, he continued playing and this gave them the leeway, Bainivalu said. We departed after coffee at the waiting lounge and, he remarked that he would like to be a part to rugby development in the country in anyway.
So, we were once warriors in Hong Kong! While been nostalgic about history does not create new rugby victories, certainly our sevens team can build on the SPG-Samoa and if we continue doing the right hard things, our best sevens-moments are yet to come.
Well done boys and, I better pen off to go and look for an "All Black Jersey" as the Rugby world cup start this weekend next door in France!
Sevens Rugby: Lest We Forget
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