Fijian rugby player decides to miss seven-year-old son's funeral to play in World Cup
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Rugby star Josua Tuisova missed his child's funeral as he remained in France to represent his country in the Rugby World Cup.
Tuisova's seven-year-old son Tito sadly passed away after 'a prolonged battle with a debilitating illness' at a hospital in Lautoka.
The player was informed of his son's passing last week before the team’s game against Georgia on Saturday, 30 September.
Tito's funeral took place in Votua, Ba, Fiji on Tuesday (3 October) morning.
But Isikeli Ratulevu, Tuisova’s father, confirmed to Fiji Village that the 29-year-old wasn't able to attend the funeral as he remained in France to represent his country for the crucial final pool match against Portugal on 8 October.
Although Fiji moved a step closer to a World Cup quarter-final place after their win against Georgia over the weekend, their failure to claim a bonus point keeps Australia’s slim hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive.
The South Sea Islanders could grab a quarter-final spot against England if they beat Portugal this weekend.
On the day, Georgia dominated early stages of the game as their defence gave them a nine-point lead at the break.
Fiji finally got on the scoreboard six minutes into the second half as skipper Waisea Nayacalevu produced a great finish under pressure to sneak over in the corner.
Frank Lomani added a difficult conversion and, strengthened by the return of Semi Radradra from the sin bin, Fiji piled on the pressure.
Lomani’s penalty gave them the lead for the first time with 15 minutes remaining.
Three minutes later, Levani Botia charged through a gap and found Vinaya Habosi, who sprinted over unopposed.
Lomani landed the conversion but there was more drama in the final minute as Josua Tuisova was sent to the sin bin for making head contact on Miriani Modebadze.
Matkava kicked his second penalty and Fiji survived from the final play of the game when Niniashvili broke down the left and kicked ahead, only for Ilaisa Droasese, behind his line, to hack the ball to safety.
Footage on social media showed how Tuisova spent over half an hour meeting and thanking fans after Fiji's win over Georgia.
Commenting on the incredible scenes, one viewer said: "Putting a on a smile for the fans while mourning the loss of his son."
"What an incredible guy! Thoughts go to him and the family," a second added, while a third wrote: "He just got the news of losing his son that same day. What a hero."
Our thoughts are with Tuisova and his family.