Fijiana duo on a mission

Fijiana Drua players Vika Matarugu and Joana Sauto in Labasa on Monday. Picture SERAFINA SILAITOGA

Fijiana 15s players Vika Matarugu and Joana Sauto have one mission – and that is to represent Fiji at the upcoming Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship in New Zealand.

The two were spotted in Labasa on Monday returning to their families on Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Matarugu and Sauto have been away in Australia with the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua for the past couple of months playing in the Super W championship and Test matches against Japan and the Wallaroos.

The side returned to Fiji last week.

Sauto is from Navakawau on Taveuni while Matarugu hails from Nukusa in Macuata. Although sidelined with a knee injury for most part of the tour, Sauto has not been deterred but instead determined to don the national jersey.

“I only played two games during our recent tour to Australia and have been resting to heal my injury,” she said.

“So it has been my aim to get better before the team gets selected for the Oceania championship because I want to continue with my rugby journey.

“I started playing in 2015, starting with the Fijiana 7s team and I won’t allow this injury to keep me from achieving my dreams.”

In comparing the two – 7s and 15s – Sauto described the full code as much easier to play because of the involvement of many players.

“For 7s rugby, there’s a lot of running and only seven players, so it’s more difficult.”

For Matarugu, returning to her village was all she wanted to do after being away from family and friends.

“It has been a tough tour but it taught us a lot and the bond we shared got us through all our games,” she said.

“For me, being my first time, it was a good exposure because I got to see how rugby is played at the international level and that has heightened my experience and knowledge of women’s rugby.

“When we played against Japan, that was a Test because we were tired from all the matches we played (in the Super W). But the Japanese players are fast and that’s a learning curve for me personally.”

The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship will be held next month and participating teams are Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea.

More Stories