Sauira chases her dream

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Iva Sauira at Tanoa Apartments in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

At just 22 years old, Iva Sauira has already made waves in the world of rugby, but her journey to success has been anything but ordinary.

Born and bred in the rugby-loving nation of New Zealand, her sporting prowess initially found expression on the netball court.

However, a twist of fate saw her pivot to the rough and tumble world of rugby — a decision that would change her life forever.

Hailing from Vutia in Rewa, Fiji, with maternal ties to Totoya, Lau, her connection to her Fijian roots run deep.

Despite spending most of her life in New Zealand and attending Nelson College for Girls, her heart remained tethered to her ancestral homeland. It was only recently that she found herself back in Fiji, this time to wear the jersey of Fiji’s first Super W team, Fijiana Drua.

Remarkably, her journey in rugby began just last year, yet her meteoric rise saw her don the national colours of Fiji in no time.

For someone whose sporting journey primarily revolved around netball until then, her transition to rugby was nothing short of remarkable.

“I’ve been playing netball all my life,” Sauira recounts, “but there was something about rugby that called out to me. The thrill of the game, the camaraderie among teammates — it was unlike anything I’d experienced before.”

Now, as she balances her burgeoning rugby career with her studies to become a nurse, Sauira finds herself at a crossroads of sorts. Despite her deep ties to Fiji, her experiences on the island have been relatively limited.

“I haven’t really visited a lot of places in Fiji,” she admits, “but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do so. And of course, indulging in some of my favourite Fijian dishes like rourou.”

Reflecting on her journey thus far, her most cherished moment as a rugby player undoubtedly lies in representing the Fiji national team last year.

Yet, amid the hustle and bustle of preparation for the upcoming season, she remains grounded, finding solace in her hobbies of hiking, swimming and spending time with her beloved dog Lolo.

For young girls aspiring to follow in her footsteps, Sauira offers a simple yet profound advice: “Keep working hard, keep believing, and go hard. You never know where your journey might take you.”

As she continues to carve her path in the world of rugby, her story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to chase their dreams.

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