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Babaas step into big league

April 23
12:00 2009

Written By : CHRISTOPHER CHAND . Fiji Barbarians head coach Epeli Naituivau does not expect miracles from his young gladiators yet he is certain the side will turn heads in the Pacific Rugby Cup this year.
The national Under-20 side playing under the disguise of the Barbarians will face a baptism of fire when they meet heavyweights the Fiji Warriors in the opening clash of the PRC at Lawaqa Park today.
The Junior Flying Fijians have been thrown into the line of fire and are expected to get as much exposure as they can before the Junior World Championship (JWC) in June. Naituivau said they would throw everything at the Fiji Warriors in the opening match.
He said the side had taken cue from their warm up match against the Warriors last week. “They tried that last week when we played a warm up match but the thing is the experience is not there but they will go against the big boys and the big boys will get some from them,” said Naituivau.
“I have told them to do the right thing not too much, they don’t have to hold themselves back and try and come out to show they can do better things.”
Fiji is grouped in Pool C with South Africa, France and Italy at the JWC that will be held in Japan in June.
Naituivau said playing against bigger opposition in the PRC will put the side on the right foot forward for the championship.
“We are still trying to develop these guys to become better players in coming years. It will be a learning experience for them because the JWC is not an easy tournament. We saw that last year when we came back with bad results so this year we asked to up skill the team through the Barbarians,” he said.
“That’s why we asked for this competition so that we can develop these players and get experience and when they go to Japan they have the confidence to play at that level. Australia and New Zealand have players at this age playing in top level like the Super 14.”
Fiji U-19 skipper Kini Murimurivalu has been named captain of the Barbarians.
The side will face the Fiji Warriors at Lawaqa Park tomorrow.
Fiji Barbarians: Leong Kwong, Josaia Cikaitoga, Manasa Saulo, Josese Bolabasaga, Penisoni Ledua, Aseri Baleitamana, Luke Nakobukobua, Lemeki Damu, Nikola Matawalu, Koroi Yavala, Ilaitia Leka, Tevita Raogo, Kolinio Vunaki, Simione Ravaga, Kini Murimurivalu (c).
Reserves: Ifereimi Lalakolabasa, Penijamini Makutu, Jovesa Tanikorolevu, Sainivalati Takailagi, Henry Seniloli, Anare Vakawaletabua, Tevita Taga.

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