• The Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji Rugby Union, Mr. John O’Connor;
• The Operations Manager, Mr. Sale Sorovaki;
• The Reverend Raki Tigarea;
• The Manager of the Under 20 Rugby Team, Mr. Masi Saqanavere;
• The Coach of the Under 20 Rugby Team, Mr. Kele Leawere;
• The Team Coordinator, Captain, and Players; 
• Members of the Media; and
• Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa bula vinaka, good morning and warm greetings to you all.

At the outset, I wish to acknowledge and thank Reverend Raki Tigarea for sharing with us a few words of spiritual direction and a prayer as we gather to farewell our team to the 2019 Oceania Rugby Under 20’s Junior World Championship which will be held in the Gold Coast, Australia during the period 23rd April – 5th May 2019.

It is always an honour and pleasure for my wife Sarote and I to welcome all of Fiji’s national sporting teams to the State House to present their traditional Fijian iTaukei, iTatau before they depart our shores with the hope of stamping our beloved Nation’s name into the annals of sports history as world Champions.

Ladies and gentlemen, as your President/Head of State, I welcome you to the newly renovated Conservatory/Vakatunuloa of the State House with great pleasure, gratitude and appreciation.

You are the third team to visit and present your iTatau in this refurbished and renovated Conservatory – following in the footsteps of the members of our National Team for Touch Rugby to the 2019 Touch Rugby World Cup, in Putrajaya, Malaysia who presented their iTatau yesterday.

Prior to that, was the National Team of Special Athletes (People with Determination) who performed exceptionally well and created history during the recent Special Olympic Games held in Abu Dhabi last month.

These “People with Determination”, our special athletes created history and made us all proud to be Fijians as did our gallant, victorious and globe-trotting National Sevens Rugby Team, creating history by winning the much coveted Hong Kong Sevens Championship trophy five years in a row recently.

Despite losing the finals of the Singapore International Rugby Board Sevens Tournament to South Africa on Sunday night, we should all acknowledge with appreciation and great pride, and continue to commend and congratulate our 7s Warriors for their most excellent display of determination and good sportsmanship in upholding the now world-renowned Fijian Bula Spirit – the Winning Spirit, that Fiji is the Olympic Champion and Trend-Setter when it comes to the Sevens code of rugby.

Ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture I would like to once again on behalf of Government and all Fijians congratulate our Under 20 Team which performed exceptionally well during the World Rugby Under 20 Tournament in Romania last year – again we created history by becoming Trophy winners and the Team to beat.

Therefore, judging from last year’s performance I am confident that you will undoubtedly perform equally well again, so as you present your traditional iTatau and prepare to depart our shores; be assured that our prayers and good wishes go with you.

To each and every one of our 28 players and 6 officials, I would like to, on behalf of our Rugby passionate and loving Nation, commend and congratulate you on being selected into our National Under 20 Team this year – well done!

I know and understand that being selected to represent our beloved nation in any international sporting competition has always been very challenging indeed because you will be expected to perform to the best of your abilities as expected of you by your Coaches, Colleagues, Families and Friends, and a Rugby mad Fijian community here at home and our wider global diaspora.

To the hardworking Team Officials, Coaching Staff, Manager and Administrators who had persevered to ensure that all details pertaining to the team’s welfare and performance are adequately addressed, we thank you! Vinaka Vakalevu!

At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, I also consider it prudent that I acknowledge and commend the hardwork and support of your respective families, friends and last but not least – the invaluable support of your Sponsors.

To all of you, I would like to say Vinaka Vakalevu, Dhanyavaad and Thank you

Please, allow me to give you some fatherly advice – To the players I would like to remind you to remain focussed, listen to your coaches, play as a Team and look after one another – be good Ambassadors, on and off the field and always display good sportsmanship by accepting victory with humility and defeat graciously.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you of my other responsibility as our beloved Nation’s Chief Advocate/Champion in our national endeavours to combat the Present, Real and Clear Threat of the Prevalence of Non-Communicable Disease related ailments (Hypertension & Diabetes) within our Communities.

Please remain fit and well by maintaining a healthy lifestyle – by eating well and exercising daily, for to date Government has been spending over $400million annually on NCD related ailments – much needed funds that could be directed into other sectors like Education and Sports to ensure that you our young athletes of today can continue to represent our country as fit, well trained and motivated Fijians in years to come.

I therefore, accept your iTatau, on behalf of the Government and all Fijians, with appreciation and wish you well and every success.

May Almighty God Bless you as you leave our shores soon to represent Fiji in the forthcoming Oceania Rugby Under 20’s Junior World Championship.

Thank you, Vinaka Vakalevu and Dhanyavaad.

God bless always.