Young ruggers defy the odds

February 10, 2023 6:32 am

Lynda Niumatasere (left), Kinisimere Kunawave.

Eastern Saints players Kinisimere Kunawave and Lynda Niumatasere defied family traditions and criticism to chase their rugby dreams.

Little did they know that this choice would lead them to new opportunities as they were part of the 12 participants that pioneered the women’s Agro-Sport Project, initiated by Seremai Bai’s Rugby Academy and funded by the Public Diplomacy Grants of the US Embassy.

21-year-old Kunawave, who hails from Nadroga, says her family doubted her choice to play rugby because of her small stature.

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“My family was surprised when they found out I was training with the Eastern Saints. They said that I’m not built for the sport and that I would sprawl after a tackle, but I allowed their criticism to motivate me.”

Kadavu lass Lynda Beth Niumatasere also faced a similar setback with her family not allowing her to play rugby because of her gender.

But she followed her gut, and she has gotten more than just rugby through Eastern Saints.

“I’ve learned how to do budgeting, financial business, work as a team, and mostly how to do our own business.”

Niumatasere also owns a yaqona business, which she runs with her parents.

They were among the 12 participants that graduated yesterday, signalling their journey to becoming professional rugby players and successful entrepreneurs.