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Editorial: Transparent Process Needed In Secondary Schools Rugby Team Selection Criteria To Avoid Controversy

Editorial: Transparent Process Needed In Secondary Schools Rugby Team Selection Criteria To Avoid Controversy
August 14
10:51 2018

Ratu Kadavulevu School Under-18 coach Naca Saumi raises a legitimate point when he ques­tioned the selection of the Fiji Secondary Schools Under-18 team.

He was surprised that a couple of his players who won the coveted Under-18 grade Powerade Deans tro­phy last Saturday were not selected.

It was also surprising that in the Under-16 team more Suva Grammar School students were selected when they only reached the semi-final. The squad has seven students from SGS, four from Under-16 winners RKS and five from losing finalists Queen Victoria School.

Why was tough Under-18 RKS No.8 Alivereti Loaloa not selected? He was one of the most outstanding play­ers in the final and was a key figure in the RKS victory.

RKS blindside flanker Philip Murray and prop Mai­keli Nakavu were unlucky to miss out too.

The growing social media chatter about the selection therefore comes as no surprise. When things don’t look right people will ask questions and they will keep asking until a satisfactory answer is given.

Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby Union executive Biu Colati said they had not received any complaints from the schools.

Mr Colati said a panel of selectors followed the crite­ria set by the Fiji Rugby Union and “we’ve nothing to do with the final selection of the team.” He said they had been monitoring the players’ performance right from the zone competitions and not only in the Pow­erade Super Deans national playoffs.

“The selection is based on the consistency of play­ers’ performance right from the zone to the national playoffs,” Colati said.

The lack of transparency about this system has cre­ated this controversy.

First, who makes up the selection panel? If the panel had nothing to do with the final selection, who picked the final teams?

Those who watched the final would agree that it was played at a frantic pace and at a very high standard – the best standard we have seen all season. The stand­ard was set by the players on the field, some of whom might not have featured in earlier games due to inju­ries or other personal reasons.

If they are fit enough to survive a torrid battle, they are good enough to be selected to the national side.

Saumi raises a good point that the secondary schools rugby organisation should write to all participating schools and explain the criteria. Otherwise misun­derstanding and disputes will arise.

It would greatly help also if the officials call a press conference and announce the names of players. They would have the opportunity to answer any queries. Most of these questions asked on social media can be addressed at this forum.

The officials can explain why one player is preferred over another. There may be valid reasons that mem­bers of the media and the public are not aware of.

A transparent process will remove any doubts about the integrity of the selection system.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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