SPORTS

Escott Shield Semifinals Today

Exciting rugby is expected at Suva’s ANZ Stadium today in the RC Manubhai sponsored Suva Rugby Union (SRU) Escott Shield semifinals. In the first semifinal, Fiji Bitter National Fire Authority
26 Sep 2014 11:18
Escott Shield Semifinals Today
Scene of the accident in Solovi, Nadi. PHOTO: Fiji Police

Exciting rugby is expected at Suva’s ANZ Stadium today in the RC Manubhai sponsored Suva Rugby Union (SRU) Escott Shield semifinals.

In the first semifinal, Fiji Bitter National Fire Authority (NFA) takes on Covenant Blues at 5.30pm while Police Blues plays Fiji Bitter Army at 7pm.

The Escott Shield, dubbed as the prestigious silverware in club competition in the country, will be at stake when the four top teams battle it out

Police Blues, Army, NFA and Covenant Blues have named star-studded lineups which includes provincial and national reps in their quest to win the coveted silverware.

Police Blues are the favourites to win the semifinal after winning its previous game against Army.

Police Suva president ACP Rusiate Tudravu said they are ready to defend their title.

“Our preparations have been going well and we will use this Escott Shield as the preparation for the Sukuna Bowl challenge later this year,”he said.

“We will be fielding all the Suva provincial reps in the semifinal.”

Their counterparts at Queen Elizabeth Barracks have also been training hard to beat Police.

Army team manager Hiagi Ieli said they are ready to play Police.

“Police will be a tough side and we respect them but I’m positive of our chances,” Ieli said.

Police will be out to win the Escott Shield for the second time in a row while Army will be out to win the title after four years.

The last time Army won the Escott Shield was in 2010.

In the first semifinal, NFA plays Covenant Blues. NFA are the favourites after finishing on top of the Escott Shield points table and defeated Pacific Agencies Harlequins in the quarterfinal last Saturday.

However, it will be a different story in the semifinal against Covenant Blues.

“Covenant Blues will be a tough side and we are working on our strategy to beat them,” NFA coach Akuila Nasi said.

“They (Covenant Blues) have showed last week against DHL Raiwaqa in the quarterfinal that they are capable of winning the Escott Shield.

“We are taking one game at a time and at the moment our main focus is Covenant Blues,” Nasi said.

Experienced players like Vodafone Flying Fijians, Leeroy Atalifo, Suva rep Serupepeli Vularika, Sireli Naoba and along with the hardworking captain Epenisi Rigamoto are the players to watch for NFA in the semifinal as the side will be out to win the Escott Shield for the first time.

Covenant Blues will be out to take its revenge against NFA after losing to NFA in the round robin match this year.

Covenant Blues coach Sakaraia Labalaba said they would take a different approach in the semifinal.

“Semifinal will be tough and we are training hard in order to reach the final,”he said.

“We want to enhance our performance by winning the Escott Shield and we are working towards that,” Labalaba said.

SRU chairman John O’Connor said the semifinals would be tough.

“The four teams in the semifinal have equal chances of winning the Escott Shield.

“Police Blues, Fiji Bitter Army, NFA and Covenant Blues are consistent sides and their level of performance have improved,” O’Connor said.

“The fittest team will win the Escott Shield and we are wishing all the teams the best for the semifinals.”

Feedback: sportsdesk@fijisun.com.fj

 

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