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Against all odds: Fijiana’s flight from zero to hero in the Rugby World Cup

Kanemasu, Yoko and Molnar, G. (2019) Against all odds: Fijiana’s flight from zero to hero in the Rugby World Cup. In: Rugby in Global Perspective: Playing on the Periphery. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780367335397, 9780429320460

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In the Pacific island country of Fiji, where men’s rugby enjoys immense popularity as a ‘national’ sport and a pinnacle of indigenous masculinity, a small community of women have actively pursued the game since the late 1980s. They have received little institutional or community support, however, and the development of the sport until recently was almost entirely attributed to the determination and sacrifice of the players, coaches and supporters. The Fijiana, women’s national team, have made remarkable accomplishments in the last few years, the most recent of which is their qualification for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Although this has improved the social standing of women’s rugby, club registration remains low today, resources are limited, and women players continue to face negative social sanction from some sections of Fijian society. Throughout the long years of struggle, qualifying for a Rugby World Cup (RWC) has been a primary goal for the Fijiana and the women’s rugby community as a whole – a goal yet to be achieved. In 2016, one of the authors traced their attempt at qualification for Women’s RWC 2107 by regularly visiting/filming their training camp in Fiji as well as following them to the qualifier games in Hong Kong and joining their team/prayer meetings before/during the games. This chapter will: 1) present a history of the women’s struggles and victories in their pursuit of the game under Fiji’s specific postcolonial conditions; 2) explore what it means to the women to qualify for a RWC in this context; and 3) examine the geopolitical (core-periphery) inequities – as well as the gender and sexual inequities within their society – that they are up against in achieving their dream of RWC qualification.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Yoko Kanemasu
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2019 04:23
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2019 04:23

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