SAPPORO, 21 Sep - While Leone Nakarawa was attempting to hold back the green and gold tide during Fiji’s 39-21 defeat by Australia on Saturday, his cousin was living every shuddering tackle - watching on in her role as a media volunteer.

Milie Navia, 33, who is three-quarters of the way through a master's degree in global environment management at Hokkaido University, had not even told her famous relative she would be pitch-side at the Sapporo Dome.

"I was so excited when I found out I had made it as a volunteer. I called my mum and she said I had to tell Leone, but I said no," Navia laughed. "I wanted to surprise him."

The 58-cap second-row was indeed taken aback when he saw Navia during the captain's run on Friday.

"I was standing behind the Fiji team photographer and they were calling the boys over," she said. "He saw me and shouted, ‘hey, what are you doing here?’"

 After their reunion Nakawara, 31, invited his older cousin to Fiji's jersey presentation ceremony on Friday night, although he did have an ulterior motive. 

"He wanted me to cook him some chicken soup. I think he is missing the Fijian food," Navia revealed. 

As Nakawara and his team-mates head south for Wednesday's crucial match against Uruguay in Kamaishi, Navia will be helping the world's media cover England v Tonga on Sunday as a member of the Rugby News Service.

But she will see her cousin at least once more in Japan.

"I am going to Oita for their last pool game (against Wales)," Navia said. "I asked him for tickets and I am so happy. I suppose I will have to cook that soup now." 

RNS ln/sg/icr