When Auckland sevens player Brittany Coates went to Fiji's Coral Coast Sevens, her focus was on doing as well as she could for her New Zealand Raiders side.

But at the end of the tournament, she was named in Fijiana's national sevens squad by coach and former Auckland threequarter Iliesa "Tiny" Tanivula.

It was a dramatic change for the blonde-haired, fair-skinned 21-year-old.

"I was sitting in the crowd and our manager said the Fijiana coach wanted a chat with me," Coates said.


"He said he'd liked watching me play and was interested in me coming to a training camp. I had to really think about it, as it meant changing my flight and missing some of my Auckland rugby back here.

"But I decided to stay and when they told me I was named in the 12 for Dubai [this weekend], I was blown away," said Coates.

She has Fijian bloodlines via her father, who was brought up in Fiji, and her grandmother, who is part-Fijian. She has many cousins in Fiji, and played in front of some of them last month.

There is no contract and no money, but if all goes well, Coates might be at the 2016 Rio Olympics seeking to help Fiji win a medal.

"It's not just for the experience. It really means a lot to me," she said.

"When I go back to Fiji, it feels like a part of me is there. I'm really honoured to be representing Fiji."