Analysis

Reality Check For NZ Fijian Reps

These youngsters are only given an opportunity to be part of the NZ All Blacks squad just to play a test match to hold them back.
29 Sep 2020 14:15
Reality Check For NZ Fijian Reps
Former Flying Fijian Prop’s son Haereiti Hetet who plays Waikato is one of the players currently targeted by New Zealand Rugby. Photo: Waikato Rugby

We should expect the naming of the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad to November’s Autumn Nations Cup sometimes this week.

It is understood that head coach Vern Cotter and his team of coaching staff are on an important assignment of checking the availability of New Zealand-based players who are eligible of representing the Flying Fijians.

These players are;

  • Given a reality check of their chances of playing for the All Blacks
  • Made to realize the importance of playing international Test matches and the World Cup, which have a far greater value than any other franchise competitions.

The more international Test matches they play or even at a World Cup, increases their value when comes to securing contracts with top overseas clubs, anywhere in the world.

– Who gives them that opportunity? Fiji or the All Blacks? Due to the competitiveness among players in New Zealand to don the All Blacks, some of these players will be lucky to play even one Test match for the All Blacks. But however playing for Fiji offers them more in their rugby career.

Ask Waisake Sotutu, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Greg Smith, Nicky Little and they will tell you that.

There have been other examples like Joeli Vidiri who made two appearances for the All Blacks with Seta Tamanivalu hitting three. Whereas other wingers like Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Waisake Naholo played over 20 Test matches each. And current winger Sevu Reece is on track to join them as well.

This is nothing new as Fijians are renowned for producing talented wingers but the challenge is on other key positions like the forwards tight five and  first five-eighth spot in the backline as well.

It is believed one the targeted players is Waikato prop Haereiti Hetet. The 23-year-old made his debut for the All Blacks Maoris last year.

Hetet is the son of former Fijian national prop Joe Veitayaki.

The other targeted player is Isaia Walker- Leawere who plays for the Hurricanes and also made his debut for the All Blacks Maori in Suva, last year,

However, he is still adamant of making the All Blacks but however he can change his mind as well.

Cotter had already indicated that forwards coach Jason Ryan is now talking with Crusaders prop George Bower and winger Manasa Mataele.

The Lautoka born Bower was the latest victim of the All Blacks selection.

He played in the North v South clash, which served as the final All Blacks trial while Blues and former Fijian Under- 20 prop Alex Hodgman was excluded.

The next day to everyone’s surprise (including Hodgman) his name was announced by the All Blacks coach Ian Foster while poor Bower was dropped.

This raised a question on whether Hodgman’s selection was to stop him from moving to Fiji?

All of that will be known by the number of Test matches he is going to play in

We hope not as we alway love one of our own to play well for the All Blacks.

But let us all hope that these players who are on the crossroads of their rugby career do make the right decision. They cannot wait with a false hope but to make the most out of their career.

Edited by Simione Haravanua

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