Selections Week 2 2023

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What an opening week we had with some inspiring performances! Agen centre Kolinio Ramoka was our first tryscorer for the year. Toshiba Brave Lupus winger Jone Naikabula took our player of the week award after scoring a hat-trick to open 2023.

We enter week 2, the Nationale 1 returns, Top 14, Gallagher Premiership & URC take a break as the European Champion and Challenge Cups resume for round 3.

At the end of the round, we will post all tries (if available) in our weekly highlights package.

Lets take a look at all the selections and game notes for Week 2 of 2023.

Jump to – Pro D2 | Champions Cup | Challenge Cup | Championship | Nationale | League One | Elite 1 RL | Tryscorers

Pro D2 Round 17 Jan 12-13

Agen – Kolinio Ramoka 12, Tevita Railevu 14 @ Vannes

Both agen players coming off a performance that included a try each. Ramoka was a powerhouse last weekend. Its a shame his second try was disallowed as it was a great effort. Railevu is having one of his best seasons to date. Both teams sit in 4th and 5th respectively and should put on a great match.

Vannes led until the 74th minute when Agen scored a converted try. They would hold on for the final 6 minutes to win 16-15.

Nevers – Alivereti Loaloa 13 | Oyonnax – Gabiriele Lovobalavu 12

Oyonnax are gunning for 13 straight wins. They have only lost 2 matches all season, both in the opening month of the season. No Joe Ravouvou for Oyonnax.

A tryless game. Oyonnax won 21-12 by kicking 7 penalties while Nevers 12 points all via the boot.

Montauban – Semesa Rokoduguni 14 | Provence – Adrian Sanday 13

Sanday plays his 12th game this season and his 5th start in the 13 jersey. No Luke Tagi or Eroni Sau this week. Rokoduguni plays his 15th match for Montauban.

Montauban won the game at the death scoring in the 80th minute. Final score 20-16.

Stade Montois – Kaminieli Rasaku 11, Veresa Ramototabua 19 vs Massy

Massy will find it tough against a Stade Montois side that is looking for their 5th straight win. Rasaku has a 66% strike rate after 6 matches with the club. No Uwa Tawalo for Massy

Mont de Marsan didn’t have it all their own way but showed their class by winning 23-7. Rasaku scored both their tries in the 8th and 22nd minute. His first finishing a backline move while his 2nd a long range runaway from an intercept & beating the cover defence before touching down. This brings his tally to 6 tries in 7 matches for the club and 7 from 8 if you include his try in his lone performance for Bayonne.

Grenoble – Pio Muarua 18 vs Carcassonne

Muarua returns to the side for his first match this year.

A tough fought match that ended in a 15 all draw.

Rouen – Benito Masilevu 14 | Soyaux – Sikeli Nabou 4, Ledua Mau 13, Kaminieli Raivono 14, Manasa Saulo 23

Saulo plays his 5th match for Soyaux. Masilevu returns for Rouen.

Rouen with a big win 42-16. Masilevu scored in the 16th minute.

Beziers – Watisoni Votu 22 | Aurillac – Simeli Yabaki 14

Beziers proved too strong winning 34-10. Yabaki scored his first try for Aurillac in the 62nd minute.

Yabaki plays his 3rd match this season and 1st since October 7th. No Christa Powell for Aurillac. Votu plays his 12th match this season.

Champions Cup Round 3 Jan 13-15

Clermont – Alivereti Raka 11 vs Leicester

The expert finisher Raka had another big match last weekend. He keeps pushing for a return to the French national side. Clermont face a stern test in English champions Leicester.

Raka again in the thick of things. While his name isn’t on the scoresheet he started a few of Clermont’s attacking raids with crazy offloads, linebreaks and near tries. The Tigers still unbeaten after winning 44-29.

Saracens – Eroni Mawi 17 | Lyon – Temo Mayanavanua 5, Tavite Veredamu 11, Josua Tuisova 14

Lyon will miss the final 16 should they lose this match. It wont be easy against the more favoured Saracens side. Veredamu has been in career best form this season.

Saracens raced away to a 38-7 lead in the first half before Lyon came firing back. Tuisova was a big part of the comeback with some barnstorming carries, turnovers and a try assist. He was yellow carded in the 77th minute for contact to the head of the defender. Unlucky for the Bus as his elbow hit the chest of the player first but slid up to the neck as he was falling over.
Mawi’s first involvement was a skilful offload to reinvigorate the Saracens attack. He also made a couple crucial turnovers. Saracens held on 48-28.

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Castres – Leone Nakarawa 5 (c), Josaia Raisuqe 7, Vilimoni Botitu 13, Adrea Cocagi 23 | Edinburgh – Viliame Mata 8, Lee Roy Atalifo 18

Nakarawa captains the 2022 Grand Finalists. A big honour for the Flying Fijians veteran. Raisuqe signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until 2025. Cocagi returns for his 10th match this season (inlcuding Top 14). Both teams have been inconsistent throughout their seasons. Should be an interesting match.

Raisuqe started at flanker but was quickly moved to wing after an early injury to the Castres starting winger. Raisuqe scored in the 13th minute after chasing through a kick. He also had an opportunity to score 2 more but couldn’t get the ball down. He ran for a game high 101 metres. Mata scored in the 28th for Edinburgh and made the most metres for his side with 50.
Botitu was Castres most damaging player and linked well with Raisuqe. Edinburgh won the match 34-21.

Racing – Peniami Narisia 16, Kitione Kamikamica 20 vs Harlequins

Both Narisia and Kamikamica return and play their first matches this year.

Kamikamica burst into a gap in the 34th minute for Racing to dive over for a try next to the posts. Racing defeated Harlequins 20-19 thanks for a 77th minute penalty goal.

London Irish – Api Ratuniyarawa 4 vs Stormers

The Stormers were too good winning 28-14.

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Challenge Cup Round 3 Jan 13-15

Brive – Joeli Matalaweru 19 @ Connacht

Matalaweru plays his 2nd match for the club. On his debut he started at flanker in round 1 of the Challenge Cup and played out the 80 minutes against Cardiff.

Matalaweru came on in the 54th minute. Brive were on the end of a proper hiding 5-61.

Benetton – Onisi Ratave 11 | Bayonne – Eneriko Buliruarua 12

Ratave scored a double the last time these 2 sides played back in December. Buliruarua starts at inside centre with Sireli Maqala rested. Coming into this match Ratave has beaten more defenders (8) than any player in the Challenge Cup.

Benetton won their 5th straight match and 2nd against Bayonne in that stretch. Ratave finished off the scoring in the 77th minute when he broke out of a tackle involving 2 defenders at the Bayonne 22. His 4th try for the club. Final score Benetton 26-7.

Bristol – Semi Radradra 13, Siva Naulago 14 @ Zebre

Naulago plays his first game since April 2022. The speedy winger is a welcomed addition to the Bears attack. They suffered a loss last weekend to London Irish after going unbeaten for 4 games.

Radradra left the game in the 42nd minute for a cut on the eyelid and could miss some time. Naulago made a successful return. Amazing that after 9 months he played out the 80 minutes. Will take a couple weeks before he is 100% fit but he came away with 2 try assists, 2 turnovers, a linebreak and the most metres in the match with 118. Bristol won 34-11.

Perpignan – Taniela Ramasibana 6, Eddie Sawailau 11 vs Glasgow

Eddie Sawailau opened the scoring in the 3rd minute for USAP when he caught an attacking kick to the corner. Perpignan scored the first 2 tries of the match but eventually lost 26-40.

Peniasi Dakuwaqa has been named in the Stade Francais lineup. Credit – Pitas Picture

Stade Francais – Peniasi Dakuwaqa* 23 vs Lions

Only a few months ago Dakuwaqa was penned in for Ben Gollings and the Fiji Sevens side now he looks likely to make his professional debut. It’s a good matchup for the Parisian side who have been excellent this year sitting 2nd in the Top 14 and now play a Lions side that are coming off 3 straight losses.

Dakuwaqa was substituted on in the 63rd minute. Stade Francais won the match 17-7.

Bath – Joe Cokanasiga 14 | Toulon – Jiuta Wainiqolo 23

Wainiqolo starts on the bench in this match. Toulon are equal leaders with 2 wins from their first 2 matches. Waisea Nayacalevu is back in training with his return in the next fortnight likely.

Nationale Round 15 Jan 14-15

Carqueiranne-Hyères – David Raikuna 14 | Suresnes – Petero Tuwai 22

RCH won the match 40-20

Valence – Ben Neiceru 12, Akuila Tabualevu (Squad) @ Blagnac

Final score Blagnac 20-18.

Narbonne – Luke Nakobukobua 8 | Bourgoin – Kemueli Lavetanakoroi 4, Naibuka Rokua 11

Nakobukobua proving to be a great pickup for Narbonne. He has cemented himself in the starting side and has 3 tries in 11 games this season.

Nakobukobua scored his 4th try of the season in the 3rd minute. Rokua scored his first try for Bourgoin but went down injured in the 70th. Narbonne won the match 36-20.

Dax – Ilikena Bolakoro 12 vs Stade Nicois

Dax won the match 27-23.

Chambery – Vereniki Goneva 13 vs Bressane

Cognac – Eneri Lotawa 12, Jone Tuva 13 | Tarbes – Jone Seuvou 5, Josaia Vakacegu 12

UK Championship Round 13 Jan 13-14

Cornish Pirates – Rusiate Tuima 20 vs Nottingham

Richmond – James Little 13 @ Caldy

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London Scottish – Billy Wara* 23 | Bedford – Tui Uru 8

Wara makes his debut for London Scottish. Blessed with size and pace with a lethal fend and handy offloading game.

Coventry – Senitiki Nayalo 8 vs Jersey

League One Round 4 Jan 14-15

Mitsubishi Dynaboars – Sam Chongkit 19 | Toshiba Brave Lupus – Michael Leitch 8, Seta Tamanivalu 13, Jone Naikabula 14

The Toshiba trio all made our rolling top 10 week 1. Needless to say they all played well especially Naikabula who was our player of the week. They face a Dynaboars side who are stinging after a big loss to the Wild Knights and will probably struggle in this match also.

Naikabula scored his 4th try of the season while Leitch was yellow carded at the end of the first half for striking an opposition player in the head. The Dynaboars with the upset victory 23-19.

Hanazono Kintetsu Liners – Semisi Masirewa 11 | Yokohama Canon Eagles – Viliame Takayawa 11, Inoke Burua 14

Takayawa has earned his spot back in the starting side. The Canon Eagles lost a close game to Tokyo Sungoliath last week and play a Kintetsu side that is yet to win a match. Could be a high scoring game.

Kintetsu giving up another big score this time 4-74 following last weeks 77-12 loss. They are still without a win this season.

NEC Green Rockets – Aseri Masivou 8, Kavaia Tagivetaua 20, Maritino Nemani 22 @ Kubota Spears

Kubota led 14-7 at the break before pulling away in the second half to post a comfortable 40-7 victory.

Kobelco Kobe Steelers – Michael Little 13 vs Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath

Little had a great game last week against the Green Rockets. They face a tough test against Tokyo Suntory who haven’t looked as imposing as they normally do this season. Samu Kerevi with the Australian squad is yet to play this season likewise Sosiceni Tokoqio for the Steelers.

Impressive win from Tokyo Sungoliath handing Kobelco their worst loss of the season thus far. Final score 39-19.

Shizouka Blue Revs – Samuela Anise 19 | Ricoh Black Rams – Netani Vakayalia 11, Nathan Hughes 19

Vakayalia is enjoying a good start to the season scoring 2 tries in his first 3 games. Hughes remains on the bench. The Black Rams sticking with that worked for them last week in getting their first win.

The Tuidraki brothers will play together in the League One for the first time. Credit – Viliame Tuidraki.

Panasonic Wild Knights – Marika Koroibete 11 Toyota Verblitz – Viliame Tuidraki 11, Vitaliai Tuidraki 22, Jone Nabetelevu 23

The Wild Knights kicked into gear last week demolishing the Dynaboars who were undefeated until that match. Panasonic are now outright leaders and the only undefeated side heading into round 4. Vitaliai Tuidraki plays his first match of the season and first League One match with his brother.

Koroibete scored a try that is an early contender for try of the year. In the 26th minute the Wild Knights put up a kick, tapped it back right into the path of the Wallabies winger who ran the best part of 45 metres and then do his best impersonation of Superman to put the ball down.
His 2nd try was late in the second half, he picked up from the base of the ruck and scored next to the posts with defenders on him. He also put in a few big shots in defence and was named man of the match.

Division 2 Round 3 Jan 14-15

Toyota Shokki Shuttles – Josh Matavesi 12 @ Uruyasu D-Rocks

Shokki Shuttles are yet to lose a match and face the D-Rocks who have Israel Folau at fullback.

Toyota lose their first match in over year going down 16-55.

Hino Red Dolphins – Josefa Lilidamu 13 @ MIE Honda Heat

France Elite 1 Round 12 Jan 14-15

Carcassonne vs Lezignan TBA

Villenueve @ Limoux

Tryscorers

Pro D2 – Kaminieli Rasaku x 2, Benito Masilevu, Simeli Yabaki

Challenge Cup – Onisi Ratave, Eddie Sawailau

Champions Cup – Josaia Raisuqe, Viliame Mata, Kitione Kamikamica

League One – Jone Naikabula, Netani Vakayalia, Marika Koroibete x 2. Josefa Lilidamu

Nationale – Naibuka Rokua, Luke Nakobukobua

This article will be updated frequently throughout the weekend.

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Most Tries in active r.u competitions

Clermont winger Alivereti Raka has scored 7 tries in the 2022/2023 Top 14 Season and 1 in the Champions Cup.

Alivereti Raka
8
Jiuta Wainiqolo
7
Kaminieli Rasaku
7
Jone Naikabula
6
Mosese Mawalu
6
Kolinio Ramoka
5
Luke Nakobukobua
5
Joe Ravouvou
5
Henry Speight
5
Wame Naituvi
5