Fiji Sports

Stormin’ Naqelevuki slots in at centre

Written By : MOIZ MUNIF. Flying Fijians skipper Mosese Rauluini believes the match against Samoa will give Stormers’ Super 14 winger Sireli Naqelevuki a chance to prove himself in the
05 Jun 2008 12:00

Written By : MOIZ MUNIF. Flying Fijians skipper Mosese Rauluini believes the match against Samoa will give Stormers’ Super 14 winger Sireli Naqelevuki a chance to prove himself in the national side.
“Sireli’s joining the team is a good thing,’’ he said.
“He has proven himself in 7s and all along he wanted to play for the 15s side. He was edging a berth but then was suspended.
“This is his chance to make a statement. He is big, strong had a great season with the Stormers. We need that against the Samoans.”
Head coach Ilivasi Tabua has named robust Naqelevuki to partner England-based Kameli Ratuvou in the centres in the Pacific Nations Cup opener at Churchill Park tomorrow
“With Seru Rabeni out we put Sireli in the centre because of his build and speed,’’ he said.
“He has been playing in the Super 14 competition. Centre is his original position.
“It is a boost for the side to have a player of such caliber as Sireli in the team. We have a lot of good wingers around but not the type of centre we preferred as in the World Cup last year.
“That is where he comes in.”
The surprise omission in the run-on team is Akapusi Qera who will come off the bench but Rauluni is not worried.
“Qera has had a very long season with his club and I think the coach is giving him time off for a while,’’ said Rauluni.
“He was one of the top players at the World Cup and will be an impact in the team.”
Tabua says the World Cup record is history and they have to focus on their next task.
“Our goal going into the Pacific Nations Cup is to do better than last year,’’ he said.
“We now have to look to 2011 and build and blood a new set of players.
“We have to develop players and set goals for the World Cup.”
Rauluni agrees.
“We have to keep doing better although there maybe highs and lows but we just have to keep working,” Rauluni said.
The Flying Fijians moved their training to Nadi yesterday due to wet conditions in Sigatoka.
“Preparation for us for the game against Samoa has been going well,’’ said Tabua.
Officials: Referee – Keith Brown (NZ); Touch judges – Garrett Williamson (NZ), Napolioni Locoloco (Fiji); Fourth official – Mikea Rokodrakia (Fiji); Fifth official: Misaele Petero (Fiji); Sixth official: Laisa Kauyaca (Fiji)

FIJI: Taniela Rawaqa, Timoci Nagusa, Sireli Naqelevuki, Kameli Ratuvou, Vilimoni Delasau, Waisea Luveniyali, Mosese Rauluni, Netani Talei, Aca Ratuva, Semisi Naevo, Kele Leawere, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Jone Railomo, Sunia Koto, Graham Dewes
Reserves: Vereniki Sauturaga, Viliame Seuseu, Wame Lewaravu, Akapusi Qera, Aporosa Vata, Jonetani Ralulu, Marika Vakacegu

SAMOA: Esera Lauina, David Lemi, Paletuatoa Toelupe, Samasoni Moala, Henry Faafili, Roger Warren, Notise Tauafao, George Stowers, Bell Sasulu, Raymond Stowers, Chad Slade, Filipo Lavea Levi, Census Johnston, Mahonri Schwalger, Evile Telea
Reserves: Mullufi Salanoa, Heroshi Tea, Semo Sititi, Jonathan Faamatuainu, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, Gasolo Salima, Neli Sasulu.



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