Forget football; if you want to find fans and players who take devotion to new levels, look to rugby. And when it comes to the rough-and-tumble sport, you’d be hard-pressed to find more loyal fans than those scattered across the Fijian islands. Rugby has long been a national pastime, with many of the island nation’s boys and girls growing up playing, and it was the country’s only Olympic medal won by the Fiji 7s in 2016 (who brought home gold after blowing opponent Great Britain out of the water). And now, Fiji’s appetite for the sport is at an all-time high as the 7s get ready to compete on the world stage again at the 2018 World Cup Sevens, happening this weekend in San Francisco, Calif.
Located on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, the swell of energy surrounding the team and the tournament hasn’t escaped the tranquil surrounds of Nanuku, an Auberge Resorts Collection property. To get guests into the spirit in over-the-top style, the resort has partnered with the Fiji Rugby Union to launch a series of new packages. That said, the Nanuku Raka Rugby program is not for the faint of heart. More than simply a way to get to know the country’s favorite sport, the three- or five-day experience takes groups of up to four guests through intense training regimes inspired by Fiji 7s athletes.
Personal coaches will kick guests into gear by starting each day with running through the rules of the game and covering the basics of tackling, scrums, and scoring at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park (one of the places where the actual Fiji 7s train). Guests will then head back to the resort for beach boot camps, where they’ll be put through the paces of Olympic-level athletes before embarking on intensive hikes through the lush jungles that line the island’s pristine beaches. To ensure that guests don’t get overly fatigued, each day will end with a 60-minute sports massage and specifically designed meals to keep energy levels high.
After getting the basics down, they will face off for scrimmages with local teams—all of which will be filmed by drones, so guests can enjoy those videos long after the sweat has dried. When they’re not getting a deeper appreciation for Fijian culture on the pitch, they will have plenty of opportunity to tap into the country’s other pastime: world-class beach lounging. The property’s 37 thatched-roofed villas line a two-mile private beach (there’s even a deserted private island where guests can spend the night), where they can splash, snorkel, or simply lounge to their heart’s content.