The Legacy of Rugby in Fijian Heritage
The most popular sport in Fiji is rugby. In a country with fewer than 900,000 citizens, almost 40,000 of them are registered to play rugby. And that’s not counting those who haven’t registered. According to a scholar of Fijian culture, “The game initially developed along racially-segregated lines,” meaning that in the beginning there were different leagues for different races. The segregation of teams continued until the 1940s, when the different unions finally merged.
Today, Fijian rugby players have a reputation for an unorthodox, unpredictable, high-flying, exciting style of play—“fast and furious,” as one commentator puts it. The play style has earned the Fiji national rugby sevens team the nickname “Flying Fijians.”
Not everyone in Fiji is the same. As in any country, the people in Fiji have different religions, traditions, cultural backgrounds, and experiences. However, the Fijian’s love of rugby is a unifying and inspiring force for Fijians across the country and throughout the world.