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It was not only the Fiji Rugby Team that visited Invercargill in 1957 but also the Fiji Basketball Team. Both codes happened to be in Invercargill at the same time and the Fiji rugby players arrived to the game but could not stay to watch. This was the first time the rugby and basketball players were in the same place.
Fiji played a combined Southland town and country B team which was watched by a record crowd.
Southland: Hazel Woodhead (captain), Rosemary Beange, Heather Mitchell, Margaret Hanning, Doreen McElhinney, Judith Scott, Marie Burke, Maureen Fahey, Molly Olive.
Fiji: Anarietta Wakalala, Ruci Karoi, Elenoa Raopo, Vilma Hare, (captain), Timaimai Wagara, Marcia Baleinavetau, Akanisi Varei, Viniana Daunibau, Lucy Whippy.
Like their rugby team the crowd were in awe of the agility and ball skills of the Fijians.
The crowd warmed to the way Fiji played the game, with a huge smile on their face showing they were really having a good time.
The game was fast and the Southland forwards struggled with the pace, H. Woodhead the tall central player who had been shooting accurately at club level missed most of her attempts at goal.
Rosemary Beange and Heather Mitchell could not match the agility of their opponents and although they made some good intercepts it was not enough.
Half time saw Fiji ahead 12-7. Southland tightened up their game and got their shooting on target and got to within 2 goals.
Marie Burke played an inspiring game and did not let up, saving points with some great intercepts. She was well supported by Molly Olive in combination with Marie Burke and Maureen Fahey.
The final score 25-17 to Fiji.
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