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Fiji Bati draws praise in Vancouver

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Canadians root for Fiji BatiCanadians root for Fiji BatiFIJI BATI team is not only turning heads at the 2017  Rugby League World Cup but beyond.

The team drew huge praise at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver during the Maori All blacks against Canada international on Friday.

Watching Canada getting obliterated, disappointed many found solace by praising Fiji Bati,a team that saw its popularity soar for putting God first during their RLWC campaign.

Among the strong 30,000 crowed were Allen and Rebecca Klinsman, the self-described, rugby fanatics, said they’ve been following Fiji Bati and the Fijian rugby for years.

“We are here to support Canada, but these Maori All blacks are just too damn good of a team “, said Allen.

“I guess Canada needs to put God first much like Fiji”.

“You took the words out of my mouth. I was just about to say that”, Rebecca quipped.

Allen said Fijians are certainly enjoying the RLWC, added it’s all about faith in God.

"OK, so you're all Fijians, give us a hug", Allen said to a group of Fijians, while Rebecca gives a big high five to a young Fijian couple seated beside her.

Darrell, a Surrey-rite talks about how good Fiji Bati was in its opening game, thumping USA 58-12.

"I'm a huge fan of the Fijian rugby. I've been following both the 7s and the Fiji Bati. Fiji Bati is some story at the RLWC”.

The team is certainly garnering praise from all quarters of the sporting world, said Adam Smith, an Australian by birth but calls Vancouver home.

"Did you see them Fijians sing aloud-in their locker room?

"What are they singing", he asked Subarmani Reddy, a Canadian Fijian photojournalist.

Reddy explains, "the players chain link their arms around each other singing devotion hymns".

"The team has obviously put the almighty God first.

"You don't get to see that often with any-other team in any sport. Fijians are God fearing people", Reddy said, as he walks through some subdued Canadians on the national sport and what it means to every i-taukei men, who dream of representing the country one day.

Monika Anderson, a Canadian Fijian and her New Zealand born husband Mark Anderson couldn't agree more with Reddy, said for a country like Fiji, it is their rugby that has put them on the map.

"Fijian rugby commands of respect", she said.

Mark said he was happy for Fiji rugby, its players and the progress.

"It's truly a culture, Fijians' play for pride than anything else", he said.

Mark said it would be nice to see Fiji Airways Flying Fijians play New Zealand All-blacks for a change and for the bragging rights.

"How about that love? he nudges Monika as she reflects back on the 59-9 thrashing at the hands of Maori All Blacks.

Fiji Bati put on a razzle dazzle show in its second game against Wales on Sunday, winning 72-6.

Fiji will wrap up their World Cup pool play against Italy in Canberra on Friday.


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