Fiji Residents eye flying start

Tuesday 10 November 2020 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Fiji Residents eye flying start
The inaugural Tri Nations rugby union series kicks off this Friday at Raemaru Park in Arorongi.

Domestic competition stars to boost Fiji Residents team at the Tri Nations rugby series.

Fiji Residents are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to claim the inaugural Tri Nations rugby union series which kicks off this Friday at Raemaru Park in Arorangi.

The George Fatefehi-coached side will take on Cook Islands this week before battling the Samoa/Tonga side next Friday. In the final match, Cook Islands will play Samoa/Tonga. The matches will kick off at 4.30pm.

Fiji Residents assistant coach Eli Bendini said they had started preparing for the series about two weeks ago.

Bendini said they have four training sessions per week, held at the National Stadium in Nikao.

More than 30 players attend these sessions.

“Our preparation has been going great. We have a good turnout of Fijian players, most of who are playing club level rugby here in Rarotonga and we expect they will provide us with a good depth,” Bendini said.

“The players are excited and looking forward to representing Fiji in this series. They have represented their clubs in domestic Sevens tournament but this is their first chance to represent our country in a 15s competition.”

A majority of Fijians plying their trade in Rarotonga feature in the backline.

However, Bendini said they have a good number of forwards to lead the team upfront.

“We have all the positions covered, there are a number of players here who can play in the forwards as well. We have options for some key positions and we hope to utilise that well.”

The likes of Lai Rogorogoivalu, Sailosi Nagi, speedster Peniasi Dakuwaqa, Tua Ravula, Tomasi Bikaka, Kave Mocedike, Jovilisi Naqitawa are expected to make the team for the series.

Bendini said: “Our aim is to win this inaugural series. We are training hard to ensure we accomplish that goal.”

Fiji Residents will need to win both their matches in order to claim the Tri Nations title.

The Tri Nations hosted by Arorangi Rugby Club in collaboration with Cook Islands Rugby Union will feature three matches between the participating teams.

Ben Koteka, the Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager, earlier said: “In this year of uncertainty we need to be innovative, bold and strategic! With the flights shut down and no visiting teams or players, we need to strategically look at innovative ways to make our internal competition exciting and meaningful hence the Tr-Nations idea that came to light from former national 15s player Pare Rongokea Jr.”

“In terms of local rugby 15s, the highest level of senior grade rugby you can play each year is the Rarotonga Club 15s Finals – provided your team make the Finals! The Tri-Nations concept is the next step above club-level rugby called regional level-rugby, which will see three residential community teams; Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa play a round-robin series of matches against each other during the month of November 2020.”

Koteka is calling on fans to get behind all the teams “as we look to enhance local rugby and build local capacity”.

Entry fee is $2 for adults and for kids, it’s free.