New Zealand coach supports Suqian’s rugby progress
2018-11-06 16:11:00

Kaleni Taetuli from Invercargill, New Zealand is the first foreign rugby coach in Suqian City, Jiangsu Province. For almost every day, people can see him so busy on the playground in Suqian Experimental School.

In 2013, Suqian and the city on New Zealand’s South Island entered into a sister city relationship, kicking off in-depth cooperation in economy, trade, education and other fields. In order to promote rugby, Suqian decided to hire a coach from Invercargill. With rich experience, Kaleni was invited to represent Invercargill in Suqian for a year coaching schoolgirl rugby. He arrived in the Jiangsu city in July 2017.

“It’s not an easy decision to leave my family,” said Kaleni, “but this is a good opportunity to introduce the sport I love to more Chinese people and also contribute to the friendly ties between the two cities.”

Suqian means a totally new life for Kaleni. “Invercargill has a population of only around 50,000 and Suqian has more than 5.9 million! It’s more than the entire population of New Zealand.”

Kaleni also said that Suqian people are very friendly and warm-hearted. Whenever he gets lost or needs help, there are always people who are willing to lend a helping hand, although they speak different languages.

Kaleni has adapted well to the new life in Suqian and likes the city very much after one year. His favorite food is the slightly spicy beef noodle, and he had much fun ordering food online using mobile payment.

Rugby is not in vogue in Suqian and in China. Many people shy away from the sport because of the many pushes and collisions. However, in Kaleni’s mind, rugby is a sport of friendship.

“It’s a team sport. It teaches the kids a lot.” Kaleni said, “It teaches them how to talk to each other and respect your opponents. The sport of rugby teaches kids a lot about life.”

Upon arrival in Suqian, Kaleni took over the training of a young schoolgirl’s team that had been trained for two years and was the only rugby team in Suqian. The player’s level was beyond his expectation, but there were also many problems. The training that the girls used to take overemphasis on skills, lacked development of physical fitness, and the enthusiasm dampened by long time of boring and tedious practice. Editor:Amanda