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Flying Fijians Exiles Impress

The duo was signed by the Exiles in January and has become regulars this season under coaches Les Kiss and Declan Kidney.
20 Apr 2019 10:45
Flying Fijians Exiles Impress
From left: London Irish Exiles’ Fijian duo Alivereti Veitokani and Albert Tuisue.

Fijian duo Albert Tuisue and Alivereti Veitokani could be playing Gallagher Premiership Rugby as early as next year with the London Irish Exiles.

The Exiles have enjoyed a hugely successful season in the Green King IPA Championship Rugby thus far, and victory against Richmond to- day (2am Fiji time) will guarantee promotion.

This is regardless of the result in their final match against former USA international Andrew Durutalo’s Ealing Trailfinders on April 28.

The duo was signed by the Exiles in January and has become regulars this season under coaches Les Kiss and Declan Kidney.

Veitokani, whose free-running and high risk style earned him the Rising Star Award at last year’s National Rugby Championship, is climbing the ranks in England.

The Tokatoka, Tailevu native scored a try against Hartpury on Monday (April 15) and was named in the starting XV that played Richmond this morning.

He is yet to take the competition by storm, as he did the NRC.

But a steady run of matches coupled with the coach’s belief in his abilities is bringing the best out of the fullback.

There were concerns Veitokani would find it difficult to adapt to England’s brand of rigidly structured rugby.

Those suggestions have quickly been put to bed by a string of notable performances, which would have also impressed Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee.

His Fiji Airways Fijian Drua team- mate, Tuisue, has been equally impressive.

The versatile forward made his Exiles debut on January 14 and has grown from strength-to-strength ever since.

Tuisue, who can play at both flanker and lock forward, also scored against Hartpury, and, these days is one of the first names on the Exiles team sheet.

The Exiles’ promotion may come at the expense of the Newcastle Falcons, home to Fijians Vereniki Goneva, Tevita Cauvabati, Nemani Nagusa and Josh Matavesi.

They will get a chance to rub shoulders with top Fijian players, namely Northampton Saints’ Api Ratuniyarawa, Leicester Tigers’ Campese Ma’afu and Harlequins’ Semi Kunatani.

Making Premiership Rugby with- in the first year of joining the Exiles will also be a huge boost for the duo’s development.

Tuisue and Veitokani – 25 and 26 respectively – are part of a strong pool of upcoming talent in Fijian rugby.

Both will likely be part of Fiji’s Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan starting September.

Tuisue and Veitokani’s ability to perform on the big stage will be put to the test in Japan, in what is an extremely talented Fijian team.

It all depends on how McKee will use the duo.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com. fj

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