Bogidrau Confirms Test Matches

Fijian Pearls to play South Africa, Wales, Scotland, Ireland Netball Fiji yesterday announced that the Fijian Pearls will play five Test matches in the next three months. This is inclusive
01 Aug 2017 11:00
Bogidrau Confirms Test Matches
TFL Fijiana 7s winger Raijeli Daveua returns to netball.

Fijian Pearls to play South Africa, Wales, Scotland, Ireland

Netball Fiji yesterday announced that the Fijian Pearls will play five Test matches in the next three months. This is inclusive of two against South Africa and one each against Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Two matches have also been lined-up against the England squad as the Pearls prepare for next year’s Commonwealth Games and the qualifying rounds for the 2019 Netball World Cup.

NF president Wainikiti Bogidrau confirmed that they will host South Africa early next month with Test matches scheduled for September 6 and 8 at 6.30pm at the Vodafone Arena in Suva. The Pearls Test matches against the European nations will be held in Cardiff, Wales from October 5-8.

“These are important test matches for the Pearls as they have not played any international test matches since the NWC 2015 held in Sydney,” Bogidrau said.

“We will be playing test-hardened opponents but we need these matches not only to expose our players to these high intensity matches but also to remain competitive.”

And in pursuing these opponents, the Fijian Pearls will not be part of the Team Fiji at the Mini Games in Vanuatu, this year.

“We have taken into the account the cost benefit of participating at the Mini Games to play against regional teams and unfortunately, whilst we are top contenders for the gold medal, we are mindful that we need to be playing internationally ranked teams and with Samoa and Cook Islands in doubt also for the Mini Games then the only internationally ranked game we will play will be against PNG.

“Thus, we have taken the decision to pursue test matches against teams from the African and Europe regions as all four countries and England have qualified for the Commonwealth Games so we can gauge the type of competition we are up against in the Gold Coast and be exposed to the type of netball that these different teams play.

“We have also lined-up a few other training matches for the Pearls later this year and early next year before the Netball World Cup 2019 Oceania qualifying rounds to be held before the end of July 2018.

“We are excited to host South Africa next month, as the last time they toured Fiji was in 2006. We are also equally pleased that this will be the first national team tour to Europe barring World Championships hosted there previously.”

In terms of finances, NF has confirmed that it will need $300,000 to play the five Test matches.

“We are looking at one major fundraising drive in the next month or two.”

And to prepare for these matches, the opportunity to wear the Pearls dress will go on the line when up to 40 Pearl hopefuls go head to head at the upcoming netball trials which will be held in Suva from August 21-24.

The Pearls and Pearls Development squads will be announced following the trials.

The following players have been named as trialists, with the possibly of more players to be added following performances at Punjas Digicel National Netball Championships to be held on Friday, August 18, and Saturday, August 19, in Suva.

Squad for the trials- Defenders: Episake Kahatoka, Alisi Naqiri. Raijieli Daveua, Jane Dikini, Verenaisi Sawana, Merelita Radiniceva, Alisi Galo, Kelera Nawai, Kalesi Tawake, Laniana Naisamu, Sera Dakuitoga, Lusi Biukoto and Luse Kotobalavu: Shooters: Afa Rusivakula, Maria Lutua, Taraima Mitchell, Unaisi Rauluni, Maliana Rusivakula, Laisani Waqa, Lydia Panapasa, Matila Vocea, Asenaca Rauluni; MidCourt: Laisani Waqanisau, Alesi Waqa, Vaiti Waqatau, Asilika Sevutia, Nina Cirikisuva, Ana Moi, Jacinta Lal, Elenoa Gukirewa, Talei Waqainabete, Aliti Toribau.

– Netball Fiji



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