Raqina excited to watch son play in Fiji

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Aminisitai Dolouto (right) and Setareki Matavucu with Moana Pasifika winger Timoci Tavatavanawai and their mother Melania Raqina at the Nadi International Airport on Wednesday. Picture: SUPPLIED

It is said that a mother’s love for her child is the most powerful thing in the world and this adage holds true for Melania Raqina who left her home in Nakaiwaga Village, Tailevu on Tuesday with her two youngest sons, Aminisitai Dolouto and Setareki Matavucu to await the arrival of her third-eldest son, Timoci Tavatavanawai and the Moana Pasifika team at Nadi airport.

The Auckland-based franchise will take on the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua tomorrow at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

This is the first time for Raqina to watch her son play professional rugby in Fiji since he left in 2017 and she is looking forward to the much anticipated clash in round 14 of the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific competition.

“I was so happy to see Timoci and the Moana Pasifika team when they landed in Nadi on Wednesday night,” said Raqina.

“I left Suva with my two youngest sons on Tuesday night at around 8 so that I wouldn’t miss them coming in on Wednesday.

“The rest of his siblings will come down to Nadi on Friday (today) and we will all go down and support him and the Moana Pasifika team.

“It’ll be the first time for us to watch him play professionally here in Fiji and we are planning to have a feast after the game on Saturday to celebrate this momentous occasion for us.”

The two teams previously met in round one where the Drua stole the win from Moana Pasifika through winger Taniela Rakuro in the dying minutes of the match.

It will be an enticing match to watch as the Drua are aiming for a spot in the play-offs and Raqina is adamant it’ll be a thriller.

“I think it’ll be a good and tough match to watch,” she said.

“I know both teams will have a lot to play for and Timoci is looking forward to going up against his former school teammates again with the likes of Livai Natave, Tevita Ikanivere and Meli Derenalagi.”

She wished her late husband, Taitusi Tabaleka was still alive to witness how far their son has come in his rugby journey.

“I just wish my late husband, Taitusi was still alive to see all the achievements Timoci has accomplished so far.

“From watching him every Saturday during Kaji Rugby days to him donning the Queen Victoria School jersey in the Deans competition, Timoci has achieved a lot and now to watch him play his first-ever Super Rugby Pacific match in Fiji is something special and I wish my husband was still around to celebrate all this.

“I know he would be really proud.”

Tavatavanawai has another teammate with Fijian links and that is outside centre Levi Aumua whose mother is from Naveicovatu in Tailevu, and Raqina wished them well in their inaugural match in Fiji.

“My only advice to Timoci and Levi is to play well during the game,” Raqina said.

“They should play to the best of their abilities and showcase the talent they have and especially where they are from. They should just enjoy playing at home and I know everyone in Fiji is looking forward to watching them play.”

The match between the Drua and Moana Pasifika will kick-off at 2.05pm.

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