Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Fijiana captain Seremi Leweniqila understands the importance of her role as a leader for her team. Appointed to captain the first ever Fijian women’s team in a rugby world cup, Leweniqila is relishing the opportunity.
“Glory to God always. I’m really excited, anxious to go out there and play, and show the world what we can do, but mostly just excited and grateful to be here,” she says. “It’s history; first Fijian women’s team in the World Cup and to captain it, is really something else.”
With a record 30,000-plus tickets already sold for the opening matches at Eden Park, the atmosphere is set for what will be a historic tournament for women’s rugby.
Leweniqila is no stranger to the Fiji rugby scene. Having also captained the Fijian Drua Women’s team to their Super Rugby title in Australia earlier this year, she brings her experience and skill-set for her country.
With their first match against England this weekend, and following hitouts with France and South Africa, the Fijiana girls will be tested heavily by the big nations in their pool.
It’s a daunting task that Leweniqila says she and her teammates are ready for as they represent their country and also the Pacific.
“They are the best in the world, and we know that. But we believe that nothing is impossible so we will go on one game at a time. As a team, we hope to get the chance to get out there and showcase our talent.”
Aside from rugby, Fijiana have also been welcomed with open arms by their fans and community here in New Zealand.
The team is hoping that the ongoing support will continue throughout the tournament, as they look to go well in their World Cup campaign.
“It’s been tremendous and it has been wonderful,” Leweniqila says about their fans.
“It’s something new to get so much support, and it will be great to see them out here on our first game. So I’d like to thank them and I know they’ll come out in numbers.
“I am trying to really enjoy the moment and enjoy the journey especially since this is my last tournament as well.”