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Rotuman Sports

From Freddy Kafoa Crocker in Honiara, Solomon Islands (19 September 2011)

I was part of  Team Solomon Islands that participated in the rugby competition at the latest South Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia. Not as a player but as the head coach for the Solomon Islands National 7s team. It was an experience that surpasses all my previous sports achievements and contributions to sports in Rotuma and Fiji. I love rugby and will treasure this experience forever.

I arrived here in 2008 to work for the a newly established IT computer company known as Daltron. At first I had no time at all to play the sport I loved so much. Not until late last year, after the company became established and well known, did I have some time to contribute to rugby in this foreign company. I had been playing for and coaching local clubs in 15s rugby since 2009 when I got the sudden call from the Rugby Federation here. It was a new challenge as I have never in my life taken a team to an international arena, but with the support of my family, company and local rugby lovers I decided to take this on.

I was appointed head coach for the 7s Rugby team by the Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federations (SIRUF) in June 2011. My task was to put Solomon Islands Rugby back on the world map and my first assignment was the SP Games. With only about six associations affiliated to SIRUF, I was challenged to pick a squad, train and coach them within a two-month period. With players from different cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, I was challenged and honoured to work with this culture diversity. I was thankful for the support of  Wallabies players Adam Freir and Sam Codinelly, and for Fiji Redrock 7s team coach Lote Rasiga's tips. With their encouragement I was able to put together a training program within the short period of time.

Working with players is no new task as I have had past experiences with Raesea Sports Club as club president and player and with the Fiji Rotuma Sports Council as president. Dealing with youths is not new and I am glad to have accomplished my first task. There was great support from the rugby community here and I am glad that rugby won in the end. Rugby here in the Solomon Islands is on the right track now with my second assignment to Samoa next month with the National 7s team for the Oceania Qualifications. Solomon Islands has been missing from participation in the IRB circuits for years now and this will be our opportunity to enter again. I look forward for another experience.

Below are some pics taken while in SP Games in New Caledonia.

Receiving new rugby boots from our Minister who travelled with the team
Team photo
Quarterfinals against PNG on the final day