Fiji Sports

RUGBY Sisters make Fijiana list HISTORY MADE AFTER BURNES GIRLS ADDED TO TELECOM-SPONSORED 16-MEMBER WOMEN’S RUGBY 7s TEAM YESTERDAY

MAIKELI SERU SUVA Australia-based sisters, Leonie Jane Burnes and Lailanie Burnes made history yesterday as the first overseas-based Fijian sisters to be selected into the Telecom Fijian 7s team. They
29 Mar 2014 08:20

MAIKELI SERU
SUVA
Australia-based sisters, Leonie Jane Burnes and Lailanie Burnes made history yesterday as the first overseas-based Fijian sisters to be selected into the Telecom Fijian 7s team.
They are part of the 16-member national side named yesterday for the International Rugby Board Women’s Sevens World Series in Guangzhou, China on April 5-6.
The sisters made selection after paying their own fares to Fiji to attend fitness tests and trials.
“They were selected on form and they showed determination in playing for Fiji by attending our trials and fitness tests. They are good players, Leonie Jane is in the travelling 12 while her sister Lailanie is one of the three non-travelling reserves,” team manager Selita Koroi said.
“The girls are fit and these are the best players on form. We are committed to do well and finish in the top eight in China to qualify for the last leg in the Netherlands. Our target is to do well so that we can qualify for Rio 2016.”
The sisters have maternal links to Natauloa Village, Nairai, Lomaiviti.
“I have been trying hard for a long time to play for Fiji. The chance is here and I will work hard to make Fiji proud,” Leonie, a businesswoman whose company, NRG Cases specialises in mobile phone rechargeable batteries, said.
She is a member of the Warringah Rugby Club in Australia.
“I have been playing sevens since the age of 24. It’s eight years now of trying to play for Fiji and the break is finally here,” the 32-year-old and former member of the Australian 7s shadow team said. She is also a New South Wales 15s and 7s rep, and represented Australia in still water rowing in 2000.
Her sister, 30, works for the South Sea Cruises in Nadi.
Meanwhile, coach Iliesa Tanivula said Fiji could cause upsets in China.
“In the three weeks since I joined them, we concentrated on perfecting skills and basics of the game. If we get them right, we are unstoppable.
“We have improved our attacks and defence and should be competitive in our pool and also against teams like Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
Telecom Fiji chief executive officer Mothilal De Silva said there were plans to offer incentives to the team.
“One of the major reasons we sponsored the team was to promote gender equality. Rugby transcends all boundaries in Fiji and we are confident that the team will do well in China,” De Silva said.
The team departs Nadi on Monday.
Telecom Fijiana 7s: Pricilla Sauvavi Siata (Vice-Captain), Leonie Jane Burnes, Asinate Savu, Ana Maria Roqica, Rusila Nagasau (Cpt), Elina Ratauluva, Timaima Ravisa, Litia Naiqato, Rusila Tamoi, Luisa Tisolo, Akosita Ravato.
Non-travelling reserves: Roela Radiniyavuni, Lailanie Burnes, Viniana Riwai.
Officials: Iliesa Tanivula – coach, William Koon – physiotherapy, Selita Koroi – manager.
Feedback: maikelis@fijisun.com.fj




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