Ovalau head coach Etuate Waqa is looking to expand his player base by extending an open invitation to rugby players from the mainland to join.
Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, the former Fijian 7s coach elaborated on his decision to open up the Lomaiviti-based franchise.
“For smaller unions like ourselves in the outer islands, we have such a small player base. So I saw this as a great opportunity to invite players from Viti Levu to come join to get a chance to play major union rugby.
“It would also be a great opportunity for the players here in Ovalau to expand on their knowledge and skills through playing with the boys from the mainland.
“Coming from bigger unions, they have a much firmer grasp and greater knowledge of training methods and standards. The pace of rugby development here is much slower, from primary school to high school up to the provincial level.
“So it’s definitely a welcome change for everyone bringing in the players from the mainland. The mainland players get major union exposure and the island players get to lift their standard of the game.”
Reflecting on last weekend’s loss to Tavua during the second round of the 2015 Skipper Cup, Waqa was quite disappointed and hoped for a better performance this weekend.
“I was very disappointed with last weekend’s result, especially with how some players failed to perform in the game they were way we had planned during training.
“Of course we’ve got a young group of upcoming players so we’re ust going to keep working hard.
“There are a lot of things that need improvement if we want to do well against Naitasiri this weekend, both across the forwards and the backline. So we’re just going to work on lifting ourselves from last weekend to another level this week.”
Meanwhile, Vodafone Flying Fijians head coach John McKee said he would be keeping an eye on the competition as it progressed. “It’s hard to draw an opinion at this point in time with the competition having progressed only two rounds so far but I am pleased that the Skipper Cup has started and I’ll be keeping an eye on the games as they progress.
“With the Telecom Fijian Warriors returning this week, as they filter back into their respective teams I expect there will once again be a shift in the outcome of games and how the teams play.”
This weekend sees Round Three of the 2015 Skipper Cup take place on Saturday with all games kicking off at 3pm.
Northland plays Lautoka at Gatward Park in Korovou. Tailevu hosts Suva at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori. Nadroga hosts Macuata at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka.
Ovalau hosts Naitasiri at Nasau Park in Levuka, Namosi plays Vatukoula at Thompson Park in Navua and Tavua hosts Nadi at Garvey Park in Tavua.