Holmes tastes Fijian hospitality

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New Zealand Rugby Union player Renee Holmes at the Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s tournament at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Black Ferns fullback Renee Holmes described the athleticism of the local rugby players as ‘crazy’ after witnessing the 36th Fiji Bitter Nawaka 7s tournament in Nadi last Saturday.

The 2021 Rugby World Cup gold medalist also teamed up with Nadi based club Nadraki Lilian White as their water carrier in the tournament.

Holmes said she was in the country on a holiday and heard about the tournament.

“I definitely knew when I was coming here what I would get into,” she said.

“So I told myself that I needed to come down and watch. Obviously Fiji is the home of 7s rugby.

“The athleticism out there during the tournament was crazy. I definitely got to my feet and wanted to jump onto the field of play.

“But I’m proud to see women’s rugby progress. It is just to see the female athletes throwing the ball around and putting a smile on is what makes me really happy.

“At the age group level, Holmes represented New Zealand in taekwondo, football and ultimate frisbee. Holmes was selected in the Black Ferns 32-player squad for the delayed 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year.

“I want to tell all the girls out there that we can do it in rugby,” she said.

“It is our job and the Fijians love their rugby.

“I won the last RWC. Now my aim is to get to the 2025 RWC.”

The 23-year-old said the Fijians played a different pattern of rugby.

“You cannot really prepare to play the Fijian teams because they bring in physicality into their game which is unreal,” the fullback said.

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