In this post we’ll take a look around the World and see what’s happening with our players, teams and have a look at what’s ahead.
Straight off the top
Congratulations to Daniel Saifiti and Tariq Sims on their huge win with the NSW Blues in the first State of Origin game on Wednesday night. Saifiti is quickly becoming one of the best front rowers in the game if not already and Tariq Sims who many fans questioned his selection, proved all of them wrong with an outstanding display that included a terrific try assist. Saifiti and Sims along with Api Koroisau who is also in the squad could all be lost to the Kangaroos at the end of the year the way things are pending out.
Bati players in form
Marcelo Montoya and Taane Milne are playing some good footy with their respective clubs with Montoya especially solidifying his spot at the Warriors with good displays at centre and wing. Vuate Karawalevu started with a bang and isn’t slowing down with 7 tries in 4 games for the Roosters Jersey Flegg side. The teenage prodigy is knocking down the door for selection at the World Cup later this year alongside Penioni Tagituimua who has also taken his game to the next level for North Sydney in the NSW Cup.
FRU Making Moves
Fiji Rugby is breaking new barriers in 2021 firstly with the Drua being included in Super Rugby, then test matches against the All-Blacks and now sporting apparel giants Nike have come onboard for the next four years as their official apparel sponsor. What’s in it for Nike? They now get access to some of Rugby’s biggest stars and unique talents and of course the Fiji Sevens team who will wear the iconic swoosh in their bid for Olympic Gold. Fiji jerseys whether it be the Flying Fijians or Fiji Sevens will be sold in more countries than ever before.
“Fiji Rugby will benefit from the massive international distrubution that Nike provides and will see Nike replica Fiji Rugby jerseys in many more countries and retail outlets than ever before,” Fiji Rugby Commercial Manager Brian Thoburn to RNZ co.
Fijian Drua prospects
Not much has been mentioned regarding Drua signings for their inaugural Super Rugby season next year but three big names in Fiji Rugby are now off contract. Firstly Niko Matawalu who leaves Glasgow after 8 years. He would be a great mentor for younger players and also is versatile, with the ability to play scrum-half, fullback or wing and prop Mesake Doge who has left Brive. The other is Leone Nakarawa who unfortunately saw his deal with Ulster fall through due to a medical report prior to arriving at the club.Embed from Getty Images
The timing is uncanny but their loss definitely could be the Fijian Drua’s gain.
Baber calls on overseas stars
Sevens coach Gareth Baber isn’t hiding who he wants in the Sevens team for the Olympic campaign. His immediate additions are rover Vilimoni Botitu and winger Aminiasi Tuimaba. Baber must overcome a few hurdles including club releases, flights, visas, quarantine to get them in the squad and says “still, at this point I still can’t say it’s going to happen”Embed from Getty Images
Semi Radradra was the third player he mentioned and desperately wants the Bristol star in the squad even if it means flying him directly to Tokyo for the games. Semi’s influence on the other players on and off the field is why Baber see’s Radradra as a must have in the squad.
All-Black tests loom large
I guess what everyone wants to know is what exactly the Flying Fijians will look like for their tests against the All-Blacks a month from now. The Brive brigade of Mesake Doge, Kitione Kamikamica who we could see start at flanker or number 8, fullback Setariki Tuicuvu, centres Enriko Buliruarua and Sevanaia Galala, winger Setareki Bituniyata are all in the frame and Peniami Narisia who is also is eligible but could be looking for a French jersey. Both the French and English seasons are coming to an end but it possibly still won’t be enough time for some our stars to meet the required 14 day quarantine period and be ready for at least the first test.
These include Semi Radradra and Tevita Cavubati whose clubs are in the Premiership Semi Finals and could be playing as late as the 26th of June.Embed from Getty Images
From France Peceli Yato, Peni Ravai and Apisai Naqalevu are all in Clermont’s knockout final this weekend but should they progress they could be playing as late June 26th too. Others are Waisea Nayacalevu and Luke Tagi. Viliame Mata, Eroni Sau, Mesulame Kunavula and Leeroy Atalifo should all be available. Levani Botia’s 4 game suspension would also be over clearing the way for him to play.
Young gun to make Super debut
Suliasi Vunivalu’s hamstring injury has all but ruled him out of making his test debut for the Wallabies in next months opening international against France while former Fiji under 20’s centre Ilikena Vudogo makes his debut for the Melbourne Rebels this weekend against the Crusaders. The speedy Kadavu lad joined the Brisbane Broncos in 2019 and had impressive performances for their feeder club in the QLD Cup before returning to Rugby with the Rebels.Embed from Getty Images
Join in the conversation
Let us know your thoughts on everything that’s going on in Fiji Rugby right now. Who would you like to see in the Flying Fijians squad or do you agree with Baber bringing in overseas stars? Drop a comment below and join in the conversation.