SPORTS

Baber Rates Ratu – ‘The Kid Gets Better And Better Every Time’

I think the kid gets better and better every time i see him and it puts him in a position to challenge for fifteens spot. My job is to keep his feet on the ground. Every time a challenge is given to the kid, he gets more fantastic and exciting to watch. - Gareth Baber, Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach
15 Aug 2020 10:40
Baber Rates Ratu – ‘The Kid Gets Better And Better Every Time’
Napolioni Ratu will play today for Yasawa Marlins against Namosi. Photo: World Rugby

 

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach, Gareth Baber has rated Napolioni Ratu as a future prospect for the Flying Fijians.

Ratu has been putting on a sterling performance for the Yasawa Marlins during this season’s Skipper Cup Premiership.

Speaking to SUNsports Gareth Baber said Ratu is an amazing player and soon top international clubs will be after him.

“Probably for me looking at the sevens boys and their performance, the best that I have seen is Napolioni Ratu,” Baber said.

“I see he (Ratu) has the capability and the talent to be the next Flying Fijians first five-eighth and fullback.

“We are trying our best to hold him back here in Fiji because we know overseas clubs will be after him because he is a very talented young man.”

Baber said Ratu is able to create tries for his team-mates or score it himself.

“He (Ratu) has got unbelievable power, strength and pace. Not only that he has got the ability to kick on both feet which is a huge skill to have.

“He is learning the structure and the strategy of the game but has that instinct ability that we often witness on the sevens’ series.”

Baber said the youngster has grown in terms of maturity during the Skipper competition.

“I think the kid gets better and better every time I see him and that puts him in a position to challenge for a fifteens spot.

“My job is to keep his feet on the ground. Every time a challenge is given to the kid, he gets more fantastic and exciting to watch,” he said.

“Last week, he was a threat in everything he did. If I was with the rest of the world I would look at players like Ratu who would create magic in the rugby field.

“A week before I watched him play at first five and last week he played at fullback for Yasawa.

“He has been very much involved with the team and that is a very good sign.”

Other players

Baber was also impressed with Livai Ikanikoda who played for Naitasiri and Fijian Drua halfback Peni Matawalu who is now representing Namosi.

“You got Livai Ikanikoda to play (Number) 10 in his first fifteens game and he played well and showed control particularly against Namosi.

“I was impressed with Matawalu as well. He played well over the last few games. He has grown in terms of maturity and is making good decisions in driving the Namosi team on.”

Meanwhile, Ratu is going to come in as an impact player in today’s Skipper Cup clash against points’ table leaders Namosi at Nadovu Park, Lautoka.

Fijian 7s captain Kalione Nasoko is going to start at centre while nippy Waisea Nacuqu is on the wing. The match kicks-off at 3pm.

Line-up

Yasawa: 1, Sailosi Sekitoga, 2. Maikeli Sivo, 3. Osea Sadrau, 4. Metuisela Laba, 5. Rusiate Waqa, 6. Kitione Salawa, 7. Timoci Ratu, 8. Joni Baleidama, 9. Vilimoni Morawa, 10. Joseva Vetaukula, 11. Rusiate Matai, 12. Seru Ratudradra, 13. Kalione Nasoko, 14. Waisea Nacuqu, 15. Maikeli Rokodinono.

Reserves: 16. Moape Wara, 17. Alipate Toko, 18. Onisimo Sina, 19. Saimoni Naikelekele, 20. Seru Momo, 21. Varayame Momo, 22, Ananaiasa Turaga, 23. Napolioni Atu.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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