Encore says ‘Toso’ to the Fijian Drua and Somosomo Stags Rugby Teams

June 2, 2023
News Release

Encore APAC is proud to provide support both local communities and industries in our region; and as part of this commitment, we recently expanded our support of the Fijian community with an outreach program in partnership with Gordon Rugby Football Club to sponsor the local teams; the Drua Rugby team and Yasawa Island Rugby club, now known as the Somosomo Stags.

Encore’s Fijian team members were joined by Encore APAC Managing Director, Scott Nodsle and the former GM, of Gordon Rugby, Grant Pisani to celebrate their sponsorship and present the players’ new team jerseys, boots, balls and training shirts.  

They were welcomed by the village residents with a rousing chorus welcome song and handmade welcome sign. The presentation was led by their village Chief and our local key partner, Kaiava Salusalu “Salu” at the Somosomo Village in the Yasawa islands. After the initial welcome meeting and Kava ceremony with the Village elders, Encore’s Managing Director, Scott Nodsle presented the partnership’s gifts to support the village. That was followed by a beautiful display of Fijian dishes prepared by the team mothers, wives and supporters to celebrate the sponsorship.

Scott Nodsle commented,

“Rugby is a way of life and revered sport in Fiji, offering opportunities for the locals to grow, develop and connect within a community environment. So we are very honoured and privileged to support and sponsor the Drua Rugby team and Somosomo Stags.

“A highlight of the visit was developing strong relationships and ties with the local community. We were overwhelmed by their warm welcome. Building connections and opportunities for growth and careers with Encore is one of our future focuses for the village community.”

After the formalities, the younger locals demonstrated their football skills during a training session to prepare for their community rugby tournament. The local teams and their families then joined Encore and Gordon Rugby on a boat ride to Naviti Island, where the Stags worked hard to get into the semi-finals, falling just short of winning the title and grand prize. The community was thrilled with the outreach and support, as mentioned by the team Captain, Opeti Laqo,

“This is such a blessing for us because it is a huge burden being lifted from our shoulders, as we struggled with financial needs to support the village, we can now focus more time on training sessions and helping our community further.”

Grant Pisani was similarly delighted by the visit to the island and presentation with the team and commented,

“It was an easy decision to supply kit and support for these youths chasing their rugby dreams as I was a rugby player back in the day. Working with the local community has given us more than we can give to them, by enriching our knowledge and love for the people of Fiji.”

Click here to listen to Episode 26 of the Coconut Wireless Podcast with Kaiava Salusalu from Somosomo Village on Naviti island in Fiji & Grant Pasini from Gordon Rugby Football Club to discuss the trans-Pacific partnership between Encore and Gordon Rugby in Australia and the Somosomo Stags in Fiji.