It was surreal, almost a week ago, the Wallabies social media Facebook page published a post with the Wallabies singing, ‘We Shall Overcome’, an old African-American hymn, sung in English and Fijian.
The hymn is born out of struggle and over the years has become part of Fiji rugby and rugby league culture. A song that invokes faith and thanksgiving, in what has been and what is yet to come.
For whatever comes – win or lose, we shall indeed overcome. It is sung in the change rooms, in the field with opposing teams, after a game and during church services across Fiji on any given Sunday.
The video of this hymn being sung has piqued a renewed interest toward Rugby Australia for diaspora Pasifika communities, including what seems to be thoughtful and heartfelt content, churned out across their social media platforms.
After a tumultuous 18 months or so of saga, controversy, and change in leadership, Pasifika and mainstream audiences were wondering about the plight of Rugby in Australia.
However, it seems something has shifted to re-ignite our faith in rugby in a profound way.
By game day, Wallabies fans, with everything they represented on their shoulders, were nervous, anxious and wondering what would be delivered to us as a nation.
What is amazing about game day is that everything is parked the minute the players run out on the field. Back yard analytics, public discourse and personal opinions are put on hold as players do what they do best. Both teams delivered, as rugby fans stood still to watch across the world.
The Wallabies’ new look and feel is certainly embracing the essence of culture for Pasifika diaspora and this is visible. Come what may, at game two or three for the Wallabies, we are behind them. We have finally crossed the bridge into certainty.
Needless to day, when rookie, Filipo Daugunu and Marika Koroibete run out on the field, they don’t only represent Fiji, or Fijians. We all become Australians watching Fijian descent players represent our country – Australia.
This is the shift that occurs when Rugby Australia finally embraces culture, via a leadership that is visibly inclusive- poetry in motion.
On Sunday, I could hear my rugby league neighbours cheering and I thought to myself, there must be a rugby league game on too. But no, it seemed my multicultural street was also in front of their television watching and cheering for Australia.
This was a memorable Sunday afternoon. Rugby was suddenly resurrected and united us together as a code, moreover, a nation.