Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport Academy
BBC Sport You are in: Rugby Union: Features  

Rugby Union
Give It A Go
Jargon Guide

Latest Sports News
Academy Parent

Get the newsletter
Learn the amazing Fijiian cibi!
Around the Academy:

Fiji perform the cibi before every test match

The cibi (pronounced 'thimbi') is a war dance performed by the Fiji rugby team before each Test match.

The chant has been used on the rugby field since 1939, though it's origins date back to the country's warring times with their Pacific neighbours.

On their return home the warriors heralded their victory by displaying flags - one for every enemy slain.

They were met by the women with songs and accompanying gestures - often obscene!

The cibi was meant for open battle to inspire the troops, but it was sung with more vigour when the victorious army returned home to celebrate.

In 1939 when Fiji prepared for its first-ever tour of New Zealand, the captain, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, thought his team should have a war dance to match the All Blacks.

His team adopted the cibi and went on to become the only team to remain unbeaten on a full tour to New Zealand!

Ai tei vovo, tei vovo
(Make ready, make ready)
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya;
(Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh;)
Tei vovo, tei vovo
(Make ready, make ready)
E ya, e ya, e ya, e ya
(Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh)

Rai tu mai, rai tu mai
(Look hither, look hither)
Oi au a virviri kemu bai
(I build a breastwork for you,)
Rai tu mai, rai ti mai
(Look hither, look hither)
Oi au a virviri kemu bai
(I build a breastwork for you)

Toa yalewa, toa yalewa
(A cock and a hen,)
Veico, veico, veico
(They attack, attack, attack)
Au tabu moce koi au
(It is tabu for me to slumber)
Au moce ga ki domo ni biau
(Except to the sound of breakers)

E luvu koto ki ra nomu waqa
(Your ship is sunk below)
O kaya beka au sa luvu sara
(Don't think I'm drowned too.)
Nomu bai e wawa mere
(Your defence is just waiting)
Au tokia ga ka tasere
(To crumble when I prick it.)

Back to top

All Blacks haka
Fijian cibi
Tongan kailao
Samoan manu

Fiji language fact
The Fijian alphabet has only 24 letters: it doesn't have the letters H and Z

Did you know?
Fiji became a British colony in 1874 - it gained independence from Britain in 1970

^^ Back to top
© BBC Contact us | Help | About us Disclaimer
Football  |  Cricket  |  Tennis  |  Golf  |  Rugby Union  |  Rugby League  |  Athletics  |  Basketball  |  Swimming
Other Sport  |  In the Gym  |  Healthy Eating  |  Treatment Room  |  Your Blueprint  |  Learning Centre