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A group of Fijian workers have come to the rescue for an Australian country rugby club, that has struggled to have enough players to fill its teams for years.
The workers arrived in rural New South Wales at the start of the year and joined the local rugby union club as a way to get to know the local community.
They are off to a flying start, helping the Singleton club make history, when they won the country division of the Mick 'Whale' Curry Sevens tournament for the first time.
The small community of Singleton now has big hopes for this year's 15 aside season, with one of the club's directors, Simon Nagle predicting the Fijian players will become "almost cult heroes" and expects that some of the Fijian players will be noticed by other clubs.
“I think undoubtedly some of them will get recognised and possibly go on to higher honours,” he told Pacific Beat.
The Singleton rugby club claims to be New South Wales country's "best nursery for developing rugby talent".
“We've got a proud history. We've produced two Wallabies in the last 30 years and numerous Australian school boys and New South Wales players as well,” Nagle said.
“As the season progresses into the 15 aside...we'll attract some attention from higher honours”.
With many men in the community working in the mines, the Singleton Rugby club has struggled to fill its teams across multiple grades for several years.
Nagle said he expects the larger clubs that dominate the competition are "very jealous" of their new Fiji recruits.
Mosese Tuiwainikai, who has previously played rugby in countries like France, was made assistant coach.
He said his previous overseas experience has made the transition to Singleton easier.
“I'm privileged to be here...privileged to be with a good club and in a good community,” Tuiwainikai said.
“We're looking forward to a good season this year,” he said..
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