In week 4 European competitions return to normal, the HSBC Sevens Series kicks off in Sydney while the Fijian Drua get their first hit out for the year.
Let’s take a look at all the selections, game notes, updates and highlights for the 4th weekend of 2023.
Jump to – Top 14 | Nationale | Premiership | Championship | United Rugby | France Elite 1 | League One | HSBC Sevens | Super Rugby trials | Tryscorers
Pro D2 Round 18 Jan 26-27
Oyonnax – Gabiriele Lovobalabu 12, Joe Ravouvou 14 8 | Stade Montois – Veresa Ramototabua 8
Mont de Marsan with the away win 25-24.
Aurillac – Christa Powell 12 | Grenoble – Pio Muarua 8
Match was postponed due to the the field condition.
Soyaux – Sikeli Nabou 4, Nasoni Naqiri 12, Ledua Mau 13, Junior Ratuva 14, Manasa Saulo 23 | Colomiers – Peni Rokoduguni 14
Junior Ratuva the former New Zealand Warrior & Sunshine Coast Falcon makes his pro debut. It’s been a long time coming for the talented winger who has has unfortunately had to deal with a few injuries in his short career but he get’s his chance to impress this weekend.
On debut for SAXV, Ratuva scored their first try in the 34th minute. Unfortunately the game isn’t covered in Southern Hemisphere so we will have to wait for Highlights to give you more detail.
Saulo was yellow carded late in the match which Grenoble won 25-21.
Provence – Adrian Sanday 13 | Beziers – Watisoni Votu 22
Sanday scored his 1st try for Provence in the 6th minute of play. No Luke Tagi or Eroni Sau this week. They were beaten 25-44.
Rouen – Benito Masilevu 14 @ Carcassonne
Rouen were kept tryless losing 3-15.
Montauban – Semesa Rokoduguni 14 @ Massy
A surprising result with Massy winning 21-10.
Nevers – Alivereti Loaloa 13 @ Vannes
Nevers won the match with an 81st minute penalty 24-22.
Agen – Kolinio Ramoka 12. Tevita Railevu 14 | Biarritz – Henry Speight 14, Johnny Dyer 19
Ramoka scored his 5th try of the season. Along with Railevu they have both been in excellent form for Agen who won the match 27-17. Ramoka was also yellow carded in the 40th minute. Dyer made his return for Biarritz after missing the last 2 matches.
Top 14 Round 16 Jan 28-29
Lyon – Temo Mayanavanua 5, Tavite Veredamu 11, Josua Tuisova 12 | Clermont – Alivereti Raka 11, Peceli Yato 18
Yato makes his return after recovering from a knee operation. The Flying Fijians backrower hasn’t played a match since December 2021. At his best Yato is one of the Flying Fijians best players and should he stay injury free you would expect him to play at his 3rd World Cup later this year.
Tuisova set up Veredamu after a brilliant offload. Mayanavanua then set up Tuisova late in the match to seal the game for Lyon. Yato came on in the 51st minute and saw out the rest of the game. Final score Lyon 34-14.
Bayonne – Eneriko Buliruarua 12, Sireli Maqala 13 | Brive – Tevita Ratuva 4, Setareki Bituniyata 12, Setariki Tuicuvu 13
Both teams with an all Fijian centre pairing in this match.
Buliruarua in probably his best performance this season. The Bayonne centre was punishing in defence and got himself a try in the 19th minute, his first for the club. He nearly set up a try later in the match but the ball was dropped by the support player with the line at his mercy. Ratuva was yellow carded late in the match for Brive. Final score Bayonne 37-9.
Toulon – Waisea Nayacalevu 13, Jiuta Wainiqolo 22 | Pau – Jale Vatubua 12, Lekima Tagitagivalu 18
Wainiqolo was in doubt earlier this week and has been named on the bench for a lighter workload. He scored a try against Zebre that is sure to be a contender for try of the year. Vatubua vs Nayacalevu is sure to be a cracking matchup.
Toulon were too strong for Pau winning their home match 27-16.
Castres – Filipo Nakosi 11, Vilimoni Botitu 12, Adrea Cocagi 13, Josaia Raisuqe 19 vs Bordeaux
The Castres backline trio will look to get Castres back on track. Nakosi has missed their past 2 matches with injury.
Cocagi was yellow carded in the 18th minute. A much needed win for Castres 23-18.
Racing – Peniami Narisia 16, Kitione Kamikamica 19, Ben Volavola 21 | La Rochelle – Levani Botia 19
Volavola returns to the Racing side for his 4th match this season. Botia was named in the Champions Cup team of the week last weekend despite playing only 46 minutes for La Rochelle. He has a minor hamstring issue but is all good to go this weekend.
An exciting match which Racing won as time expired. Finn Russell kicked a penalty to win the game for his side 39-36. Botia was yellow carded after tipping Russell from a cleanout in the 60th minute. Kamikamica looked to have scored for Racing late but dropped the ball in his attempt to put the ball over the line. Volavola was not used.
Nationale Round 17 Jan 28-29
Bressane – Kavekini Tabu 11 @ Blagnac
Final score Blagnac too good 31-15.
Stade Nicois – Laijiasa Bolenaivalu 8, Sunia Vola 17 vs Suresnes
No Petero Tuwai for Suresnes while Nice are without Sakiusa Bureitakiyaca.
Nice were too good winning 32-11.
Narbonne – Luke Nakobukobua 8 vs Albi
Nakobukobua has been exceptional for Narbonne. 4 tries in this season for the speedy backrower.
Nakobukobua does it again scoring number 5 for the year. Narbonne however were defeated 18-30.
Bourgoin – Joketani Koroi 4, Naibuka Rokua 11 @ Dax
Koroi starts for the first time at Bourgoin. The former Nice lock was our Nationale player of the year in 2021.
Dax far too good 28-9.
Carqueiranne-Hyères TBA | Valence – Ben Neiceru 12
Premiership Round 16 Jan 27-29
Bath – Joe Cokanasiga 14 @ Sale Sharks
Bath close but not good enough losing 27-30.
Saracens – Eroni Mawi 17 | Bristol – Semi Radradra 13, Siva Naulago 14
Both teams coming off a win last outing. Radradra and Naulago both in form for Bristol.
Bristol led Saracens the whole match only to lose the match in the last minute via a Saracens try. Mawi came on in the 35th minute for Saracens who won 20-19. Radradra had a try assist for Bristol.
Gloucester – Albert Tuisue 8 @ Exeter
Tuisue was our player of the round last week. Returning from suspension the Flying Fijians backrower put in big performance for Gloucester who defeated Bordeaux in the Champions Cup.
Exeter won the match 24-17.
London Irish – Api Ratuniyarawa 19 vs Harlequins
United Rugby Round 13 Jan 28-30
Edinburgh – Viliame Mata 8, Lee Roy Atalifo 18 vs Munster
Mata has been excellent this season one of Edinburgh’s best since the start of the season. Atalifo plays his 4th match this season, 2 of which in the Champions Cup.
Edinburgh lose at home 19-22.
UK Championship Round 14 Jan 28
Bedford – Tui Uru 8 @ Caldy
Uru coming off a try scoring performance last week. Bedford in 4th position having won their past 3 matches.
Caldy with the win 36-28.
London Scottish – Billy Wara 13 vs Ampthill
Wara starts his first match for London. His first 2 matches have been on the wing.
Ampthill too good for London 28-19.
Coventry – Senitiki Nayalo 8 @ Ealing Trailfinders
Doncaster won the match 32-17.
France Elite 1 Rugby League Round 13 Jan 28
League One Round 6 Jan 28-29
Toshiba Brave Lupus – Michael Leitch 8, Seta Tamanivalu 13, Jone Naikabula 14 | Kintetsu Liners – Semisi Masirewa 15
Kintetsu are yet to win a game and have conceded over 150 points in the last 2 games. Toshiba however are coming off a big win over Toyota Verblitz. Naikabula is on fire scoring 5 tries in the past 3 games.
All 3 Toshiba players got across the line for Toshiba. Naikabula now has 6 tries in his last 4 matches. He is our leading Fijian for the 2023 Calendar year. Kintetsu’s struggles continues. Now over 200 points conceded in their last 3 matches. Toshiba 60-14.
Panasonic Wild Knights – Marika Koroibete 11 | Yokohama Canon Eagles – I Viliame Takayawa 11, Inoke Burua 14
Koroibete has been great over the past fortnight as the Wild Knights are showing the type of form that won them the last 2 titles. They are yet to lose a match this season.
The Canon Eagles looked to have caused a major upset when they scored late and took the lead but the Wild Knights scored an 80th minute try and kicked the conversion to win the game 21-19.
Kobelco Kobe Steelers – Sosiceni Tokoqio 8 | Toyota Verblitz – Jone Nabetelevu 11, Vitaliai Tuidraki 13, Viliame Tuidraki 1
Nabetelevu returns to the starting side, Viliame Tuidraki moved back to fullback. Toyota Verblitz haven’t won a match since round 1.
Tokoqio plays his first match of the season starting at number 8.
Nabetelevu powered over in the 48th minute for his 2nd try of the season. He was unlucky to have not scored earlier due to a knock on in the lead up. Viliame Tuidraki scored his 1st for the season set up by his brother. Toyota Verblitz with the impressive away win 38-21.
Shizouka Blue Revs – Samuela Anise 19 | NEC Green Rockets – Aseri Masivou 8
Final score Shizouka 21-0.
Mitsubishi Dynaboars – Epineri Uluiviti 5, Sam Chongkit 6 @ Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath
Chongkit starts his first match for the season. They Dynaboars have only 1 dropped 1 match, to the champion Wild Knights side. Outside of that game they have been in great form.
Sungoliath far too strong winning 51-13.
Ricoh Black Rams – Netani Vakayalia 11, Nathan Hughes 19 @ Kubota Spears
Vakayalia is enjoying his best start to a season. The powerful winger has been one of their best over the opening month. Hughes is relegated back to the bench for this match.
The Black Rams trailed 24-0 before posting their first points. They would come all the way back to lead 38-37 before an 80th minute penalty kick gave Kubota the win. Vakayalia again heavily involved especially as Ricoh started making a comeback. Final score Kubota 40-38.
Division 2 Round 4
Toyota Shokki Shuttles – Josh Matavesi 12 (c) | Kamaishi Seawaves – Seta Koroitamana 20
Matavesi is honoured with the captaincy in this match. The representative centre has been outstanding since he arrived in Japan. In round 3 they lost to Uruyasu D-Rocks, the first time Matavesi tasted defeat in a Shokki Shuttles jersey.
Koroitamana missed the last match but scored a try in his last outing for the Seawaves.
Matavesi with 2 wonderful try assists. Shokki Shuttles too strong 64-14.
Sydney Sevens Jan 27-28
Fiji Men – Josua Vakurunabili, Jeremaia Matana, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Tira Patterson, Josevani Drava, Waisea Nacuqu, Pilipo Bukayaro, Iowane Teba, Manueli Maisamoa, Vuiviawa Naduvaco, Jerry Tuwai, Alasio Naduva, Josese Batirerega 14, Tevita Daugunu
Automatic qualification into the next Olympic Games is becoming tougher for Fiji as they sit mid table on the Series ladder. Coach Ben Gollings is aiming for a top 2 finish in Sydney.
Fiji opened the day with a big win over Tonga 52-7 and backed that up with their first performance on day 2 beating Japan 54-0. Manueli Maisamoa has been excellent in both attack and defence. Jerry Matana received a red card against Tonga for contact with the head.
Fiji finished first in their pool after winning all 3 games and will play South Africa in the Quarter Finals.
Japan – Kameli Soejima
New Zealand – Akuila Rokolisoa
Rokolisoa is the current Series leader for points scored with 181.
Great Britain – Api Bavadra 23
Women – Rejieli Daveua 1, Rusila Nagasau 2, Vani Buleki 3, Talei Wilson 4, Ivamere Nabura 5, Vasiti Solikoviti 6, Lavena Cavuru 7, Maria Rokotuisiga* 8, Viniana Riwai 9, Reapi Uluinasau 10, Ana Naimasi 11, Ilisapeci Delaiwau 12, Younis Bese 13
Our women lost their first match against Great Britain 5-17 and defeated USA in their 2nd match 17-14.
Fiji will play for 5th after a Quarter final loss to Ireland 12-26.
Super Rugby Trials Jan 28
Coach Mick Byrne has named 2 sides to play the rebels – click here to view
11 new faces in the side. Several players rested for the next trial match in a fortnight.
Melbourne Rebels – Ilikena Vudogo 11, Angelo Smith, Moses Sorovi
Our first look at Smith in a Rebels jersey. Vudogo is one to watch this season. In his 3rd year at the Rebels the former under 20’s Fijian flyer could be in for a breakout season.
No points at the break before the Drua scored 24 in the 2nd half. They kept Melbourne scoreless in a reportedly “error riddled” game. Nonetheless positive signs for the Drua heading into their 2nd season.
Pro D2 – Junior Ratuva, Adrian Sanday, Kolinio Ramoka
Nationale – Luke Nakobukobua
Top 14 – Tavite Veredamu, Josua Tuisova, Eneriko Buliruarua
League One – Jone Nabetelevu, Viliame Tuidraki, Michael Leitch, Seta Tamanivalu, Jone Naikabula
Drua trial match – Kitione Salawa, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Iosefo Baleiwairaiki, Joseva Tamani
HSBC Sevens Men – Iowane Teba, Pilipo Bukayaro x 3, Manueli Maisamoa x 3, Waisea Nacuqu x 2, Viwa Naduvaco x 2, Josese Batirerega x 2, Tevita Daugunu, Sevuloni Mocenacagi x 2
HSBC Sevens Women – Ana Maria Naimasi x 2, Adi Vani Buleki x 2
This article will be updated frequently throughout the weekend