WHEN the final hooter of the men’s 7s rugby final went off, the first person Iliavi Masori looked for to celebrate with was his brother.
The 22-year-old and his older brother, Joji Nasova, were part of the Fiji men’s 7s side that defended their gold medal at the Pacific Games after beating Samoa 19-5 on Saturday night.
Born and raised in Ba, the Korotoge lad has always dreamt of this moment.
Donning the white jersey and running onto the rugby field is almost every young Fijian boy’s dream.
“This is the moment we always dreamt of when we were kids, representing Fiji in 7s rugby,” he said.
“And to be able to do it with my older brother with me is even more special.”
Dropping out of high school in form five, Masori turned to rugby as a source of employment to help support his family.
“I wasn’t good in school, but I was always good in sports, so in form five I decided to drop out of school and try to pursue rugby.”
“I always hoped to play rugby for an international club and help my family, and now that dream is slowly becoming a reality.”
Apart from playing rugby and doing odd jobs in Ba, Masori and his family depended on their farm for their daily livelihood.
“Farming is normal for almost every Fijian family and ours was no different.
“I used to spend my day on the farm and afternoon on the rugby field.”
Masori joined his village 7s club ever since dropping out of high school, before eventually finding his way to the national 7s team.
“I played for about three years with my village’s team, before I moved to Suva.
“My brother was playing for Dominion Brothers during that time and asked me if I wanted to join him.”
This is where the duo’s rugby dream took off.
“This was about two years ago, and we always attended all the trials for the national team.
“However, we were never able to get a spot in the tea, until a few months ago. Masori said finding out he had made the national 7s team to the Pacific Games was one of the happiest moments of his life.
“All my hard work had paid off, all those years of struggle and sacrifices had finally borne fruit.
“And when I found out that my brother was in the team I was even happier.”
He said sharing the field with his own kin gave him a different type of motivation.
“Me and my brother are very close, whenever I share the rugby fi eld with him, I feel like I can do almost anything.”
Now, Masori hopes to represent Fiji 7s side in the HSBC SVNS series next year.
“If I’m able to join his side, I want to be able to get a contract and help my family back in Fiji.”