SPORTS

‘Superstar’ Seta On Radar

Taranaki centre Setareki Tamanivalu is set to become the next big sensation in New Zealand rugby and Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee is taking notice. McKee yesterday praised Tamanivalu
20 Oct 2014 14:52
‘Superstar’ Seta On Radar
Fijians support.... Waisake Naholo (with ball), on attack as fellow Fijian Setareki Tamanivalu (second from left), lends support for Taranaki in the ITM Cup premiership semifinal against Auckland at Yarrow Stadium,New Plymouth last Saturday. Photo: AFP

Taranaki centre Setareki Tamanivalu is set to become the next big sensation in New Zealand rugby and Vodafone Flying Fijians coach John McKee is taking notice.

McKee yesterday praised Tamanivalu who has been in stunning form for Taranaki throughout the season and played a crucial role in their ITM Cup 49-30 semifinal win over Auckland last Saturday.

The side will play Tevita Cavubati’s Tasman Makos in the final this Saturday in New Plymouth.

“We’ve been watching Seta and his performances throughout the ITM Cup. He’s been in such exceptional form and played great games. Going forward, he’s certainly on the radar and we’re watching him closely,” McKee said.

“But we have some really good players also in that position like Vereniki Goneva who has come back really strong recovering from injuries that sidelined him for the June test series. The fact is it’s a really competitive field and the number 13 jersey is very highly contested.

“We wish him all the best for the final though and congratulate him on signing with the Chiefs and we look forward to him continuing to make a bigger impact in New Zealand rugby.”

McKee added that the ITM Cup final featuring Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo for Taranaki and Cavubati for Tasman Makos served as a testament to the continuing impact of Fijian players in New Zealand rugby.

“It’s great and it shows the good quality of rugby being produced by Fijian players and it’s so great to see them playing such important and big parts in their teams’ success.”

Taranaki skipper James Marshall echoed similar sentiments about the Yasawa-i-rara native.

“I’m so proud. That game was unreal. I’m just so happy with the effort, especially in that last 20 minutes, which seemed like it went forever. Seta is a superstar in the making. He had some game.”

Meanwhile, Tamanivalu, 22, shared with SUNsports via Twitter yesterday his take on the dazzling semifinal win and how he was anticipating his very first ITM Cup final.

“For me as an individual, it’s a pretty special moment making it to the big stage and it’s probably the best moment of my rugby career. We are creating history here so we feel proud especially with my naki (Taranaki) brothers. I’m stoked that we made it to the final.

“My expectation is it’s going to be a tough one especially playing one of the best teams in the country, Tasman. We are really hungry to take this but we’re just going to work hard so we can get the results because it’s not just going to happen. I just want to win my first ITM Cup which would awesome”

Tasman Makos ended Canterbury’s six-year hold on the ITM Cup with a 26-6 win over the defending champions in Nelson.

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

 

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