Fiji National Rugby Sevens team stay fresh with coconut water

Remember the age-old belief about coconut water being good for your body?

Well it may just be true.

Being a tropical country, Fiji has an abundance of coconuts throughout the year. So instead of guzzling plain water or isotonic drinks, Fiji's National Rugby team drinks fresh coconut water to stay refreshed during and after trainings.

How lucky!

"We have the green coconuts (young coconuts) after training and the older coconuts before training," said Ben Ryan, head coach of the Fiji National Rugby team, in an interview with AsiaOne.

And who knows? That might have just been the main source of energy which fuelled their recent victory at the Hong Kong leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series (HSBCWRSS).

"Hong Kong was a very draining event over three days so we now need to recuperate, reinvigorate and train again before the match this week," said Mr Ryan.

Currently standing at first place above rugby favourites New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, the Fiji 7s will need to keep their energy levels up in order to defend their HSBCWRSS title this Saturday, when the Singapore leg of the competition kicks off at the National Stadium after a decade-long hiatus.

But before making their way for training today (April 13), the Fiji 7s made a special appearance at the Singapore Changi Airport to celebrate Fiji Airways' inaugural direct flight to Fiji from Singapore which launched last week on April 6.

At the launch, passengers and rugby fans got treated to a meet-and-greet session with the Fiji 7s as well as a war dance known as the Cibi (pronounced 'thimbi'), performed by the 12-man team.

Originated in 1939, the Cibi dates back to warring times and is traditionally performed either before or after a game to inspire troops. These days, the Fijians perform it before matches to gear them up for the game.

And if you're wondering how it goes, these are the words they chant: 

Ai tei vovo, tei vovo (Make ready, make ready)

E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya; (Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh;)

Tei vovo, tei vovo (Make ready, make ready)

E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya (Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

Rai tu mai, rai tu mai (Look hither, look hither)

Oi au a virviri kemu bai (I build a breastwork for you,)

Rai tu mai, rai ti mai (Look hither, look hither)

Oi au a virviri kemu bai (I build a breastwork for you)

Toa yalewa, toa yalewa (A cock and a hen,)

Veico, veico, veico (They attack, attack, attack)

Au tabu moce koi au (It is tabu for me to slumber)

Au moce ga ki domo ni biau (Except to the sound of breakers)

E luvu koto ki ra nomu waqa (Your ship is sunk below)

O kaya beka au sa luvu sara (Don't think I'm drowned too.)

Nomu bai e wawa mere (Your defence is just waiting)

Au tokia ga ka tasere (To crumble when I prick it.)

As part of a month-long 'Changi Rugby Sevens' event at Terminal 3, travellers can expect to view actual game memorabilia such as the Fiji national team's previous winner's trophy as well as try out the new virtual rugby game simulator.

Through the new flight service by Fiji Airways, travellers can also fly to Pacific Islands like Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

An Englishman turned Fijian, head coach Mr Ryan is a celebrity in Fiji as well as a brand ambassador for Fiji Airways. Following on from the World Championship win, there have been songs made and even babies named after him by the locals.

So we thought it wise to ask the 44-year-old to recommend some places to visit in Fiji.

"There are some nice five-star commercial resorts around Denarau and you would probably like to chill out there and have all your modern comforts," he said.

However if you wish to have an adventure or go somewhere more Fiji centric, then Pacific Harbour would be ideal.

"Pacific Harbour is what you'll expect - palm beaches, coconut trees, beautiful people, great food, and you can try shark diving, snorkelling, golfing or go into the villages as well," he suggested.

The Changi Rugby Sevens exhibition runs till April 29 at the Central Departure Transit area of Terminal 3.

And if you're free this weekend, you can try to catch the Rugby Sevens teams play live at the Singapore National Stadium. Ticket prices range from $2-$150.

Besides team Fiji, the New Zealand 7s and and Australian 7s have also been keeping themselves busy in Singapore this week. 

Earlier today, the Qantas Aussie rugby team served up some laksa at Lau Pa Sat during a laksa making challenge while the New Zealand All Blacks team gave coaching clinics to students from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).