So a little more than a few weeks back, we had a chance to see a Flying Fijians Test Match game. While again, we don't know much about rugby and I don't quite understand the whole system there were two games to be played here in Suva (there aren't many big games that are played here), one against Italy and one against Scotland.....so I wanted to try and go to one of them. We had other things going on the weekend of the Italy game, I asked the rest of the family how they'd like to a rugby game....I got a lot of 'ehs' and 'whatev's. So I took that to mean YES! On the day of the game, when I got a few groans I initiated mandatory family fun!
When I got the tickets, I asked what time they recommended getting to the Arena. The game started at 2:30. They said everyone will get there at 2:00 and the gates back up big time, so getting there around 1:30 you would avoid long lines. Also, within each seating area, it was open seating. So you would have more seat options the earlier you arrived. It also gave us some time to get some drinks/snacks, we watched the teams warming up, and we got to enjoy the marching band.
The Fiji Police Marching Band has beautiful uniforms and it is always a treat when you get to see them perform.
Richard, who was a sports photographer previously in life, walked down close to the field and snapped some photos (that's also where I got those up-close and personal photos of the band!). Since we ended up with so many photos from the game (much more exciting)....I won't bombard you yet...but I really liked this team photo.
In fact, if you look close (I circled it for you....click on the image to see us larger), you can see what awesome seats we got. Close enough to have a great view of the field but we were still under the overhang in case it started to rain again (the row of seats in front of us were wet) or got super sunny we had shade.
As you saw at the end of video, some Fijians in traditional dress came out at the towards the end of the band's performance. They walked behind each band member and did something (we couldn't tell what).
They then walked off the field and made an entranceway for the teams to run through.
Scotland came out first, followed by the Flying Fijian! (I couldn't find a team name for Scotland).
Both teams lined up for the band to play their respective national anthems. Scotland's was played first. There was a large group of Scots sitting to the left of us. It appeared the marching band was playing their anthem too slowly, they were having a hard time singing it...and kept making these annoyed faces....oh Fiji.
Next up, was the Fiji National Anthem. Every Friday at assembly, the kids sing the national anthem, as well as their school song (naturally)...so they know the song very well. So when it was playing Clarissa sang along with the rest of the Fijians. Clarissa will get shy if she knows I'm recording her...so I snuck a bit of her belting out the Fijian Anthem....it's so cute! (I am well aware of the fact that if we go to a baseball game in the US I will likely demonstrate a parenting fail and she would not know the words to the Star Spangled Banner...).
The team performed the 'Bole'. Similar to the All-Blacks famous Haka, the Bole means an 'acceptance of challenge'. They form a semi-circle around the leader, using a side approaching stance, advance with their battle cry, and ending it with a jump. Pretty cool stuff!
So in all, we had just under 500 photos to weed through....so given we don't fully understand the rules of rugby, we don't know anything about the players (other than some are on the 7s team)...we had just come for fun and Richard was playing with the camera and taking lots and lots of photos. So what to do, what to do.....so naturally, I went through and have picked out the photos
So my take on the rules of rugby are: everything you learned in Kindergarten....do the opposite.....steal the ball - don't share, hit the other team as hard as you can, run as fast as you can.
The lifting teammates in the air to grab the ball were amazing feats....and great when the other team doesn't get the ball!
Or when your team causes the other team to miss the ball! Some good facial expressions here too!
This next one is a great one for facial expressions too, the magic of stop action boys and girls.....
and sure enough in the next frame he's taking him out....
but that's the great thing about Rugby vs American football. The game keeps going. You've got a pile of players on the ground but the game keeps going as you throw the ball to teammates who keep it moving down the the field.
You just run as far as you can and hope you have a teammate who can catch the ball when you get tackled.
This is a scrum. It is done when one of the teams had a minor rule infringement (thanks google), but I don't understand much more than that. They push back and forth then the ball gets put down and someone grabs it and play starts again.
One of the best aerial stop action shots....and they don't have any pads or helmets!! (Alternatively, two players from opposing teams are now besties and playing airplane?)
So much going on in this shot. It was well into the game before either team scored and Fiji scored first! The ref is giving a thumbs up for a successful try. The photographer's huge grin, likely that she got a great scoring shot. Of course, the best part, all the fans on the grass embankment celebrating!
The Fiji Sun was passing out signs when we were walking in. It said 'Go Fiji Go' on one side....or the same thing in Fijian on the other side. Clarissa celebrated by holding up the sign when they scored.
I like the guy trying to grab ball/block the runner.
Aahh, group hug!!!
At halftime we got some Oreo's....one was put together wrong....we had to take get a picture of the cookie.....but it ended up being a nice picture.....
So after halftime, we switched which end we were trying to score on. So now we had a great view of the Pacific Ocean every time the team was trying to score! I love this shot right after they scored again, they were congratulating each other.
This one has lots of funnies. I like the one guy in the middle who appears that he stopped in the middle of play to do a burpee. lol.
Perfect example of un-kindergartener like behavior....look at those two fighting over the ball! They belong in time out...lol.
Poor little Fijian running with the ball, with five Scots trying to determine how to attack him best!
This one is just funny faces all around. A random arm smashing into someones face. The ball is just floating with it appears no one has control over it.
I don't think the Scot kindly asking stop don't tackle me is going to work....lol.
Their faces remind me of some 1980s movie where the ball is some fragile egg about to shatter on the ground in mere moments.
We celebrated at the end of the game. Fiji won 27 to Scotland's 22. It had been predicted Scotland would win, that made it even more exciting! Clarissa went to town blowing the horn she had gotten.
At some point during the game, she had noticed her music teacher from school was sitting a few rows behind us. After the game she waved and Mr. Tim waved back and daddy got a photo of him waving at her.
After the game, both teams come together in a group huddle. It shows really good sportsmanship after they just beat each other up a bunch. Lol.
So as we were walking out, everyone said what a fun time they had and we should do it again. Yeah, don't know when there will be another game in town....but I'm glad I insisted on 'mandatory family fun'....I greatly enjoyed saying I told you so!