SPORTS

We Want Veitokani At No.10 Not No.15

Why is Alivereti Veitokani not given a chance to play at his usual first five eight position against Scotland? Is he not good enough than Ben Volavola or what’s going
12 Nov 2018 10:27
We Want Veitokani At No.10 Not No.15
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians first five eight Alivereti Veitokani during their warm-up session at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 10, 2018. Photo: Ian Muir

Why is Alivereti Veitokani not given a chance to play at his usual first five eight position against Scotland? Is he not good enough than Ben Volavola or what’s going on here?

Then why is Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is keeping him on the bench when he needs to get game time internationally since the Rugby World Cup is less than a year away.

Veitokani came in as a substitute late in the second half at Murrayfield, but to make matters worse he was put at fullback.

Volavola has been a good unit so far but we cannot rely on him all the time. He has his off days as well and what if he gets injured before the RWC?

What’s plan B if such situation arises?

Remember that the mighty All Blacks had to rope in their fourth listed first five eight Stephen Donald to kick over the winning penalty in the 8-7 win over France in the 2011 RWC final.

The Chiefs man stepped in after Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden were injured during the RWC pool games and playoffs as well.

They’ve got to be fair to Veitokani and he needs to be given a break.

Fondly known as Freddy, he was the star of the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua’s recent Australian National Rugby Championship win and got the 2018 Rising Star award.

The Lomainasau native from Tailevu narrowly missed out on the Team Fiji men’s 7s team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But he also played for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team under coach, Ben Ryan when they won the HSBC World Sevens Series twice in a row.

Even on social media, Brumbies fans are calling for Veitokani to be signed up as he brings memories of the legendary Australian first five eight and RWC winner Stephen Larkham.

It’s true we’ve got the best backline players in the world but we need someone who can swing them into motion or else they will be useless.

Volavola had been trying hard to do that and it’s time we should try out Veitokani and see how best he can do the job.

It could have happened yesterday when fullback Setareki Tuicuvu came out injured early in the first half and Veitokani would have  manned the first five eight position while Volavola moves to fullback since he has played in that position before.

And they could be switching positions during the game if the need arises.

But however, McKee did not see it that way and rest is now history.

Let’s all hope that there is a change of heart and Veitokani is given a chance to start against Uruguay in London this Sunday morning as the experience could augur well for our 2019 RWC campaign in Japan.

 

HOW WE RATE OUR PLAYERS

  1. Setareki Tuicuvu: 2- Nothing special and went off injured in the first half
  2. Metui Talebula: 4- Not as fast as before but was okay defensively
  3. Semi Radradra: 5- From the few balls he received, he was able to score a try and made some good runs
  4. Jale Vatubua: 3- Made one or two strong tackles and that was it. The Scots were able to break through his defence. Probably, he’s

used to playing at outside centre.

  1. Vereniki Goneva: 3- Used his experience but lacked speed and made several handling errors.
  2. Ben Volavola: 4- Defended well but too lateral and cannot put his fast backline into motion. Failure to find touch from a freekick saw Scotland hit back with a try.
  3. Frank Lomani: 6- Starting to show maturity in his game and should be our No.1 halfback come the RWC
  4. Vili Mata: 7- Played a grand game at the back of the scrum and scored a glorious try
  5. Peceli Yato: 4- Always in the thick of things but not at his best
  6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu: 5- Played a captain’s game and led from the front
  7. Leone Nakarawa: 4- Unfortunate to cop a yellow card but was well marked by the Scots
  8. Tevita Cavubati: 4- Getting a yellow card during the crucial stage of the game overshadowed his performance. Should have known better
  9. Manasa Saulo: 4- Scrummed well but needs to lift his general play
  10. Sam Matavesi: 5- Quick to the loose ball, general play was good and getting there with his lineout throws
  11. Campese Ma’afu: 5- Always giving his best when playing for Fiji

 

RESERVES

  1. Eroni Vasiteri: 4- Lucky to avoid a yellow card with his high tackle on Finn Russell. Could do more if he was playing at second five eight.
  2. Mesulame Dolokoto: 5- Made his debut, settled in well and had the right attitude.
  3. Eroni Mawi: 5- Made a few good runs and scrummed well
  4. Kalivati Tawake: 4- Held his own on the scrum and was in the thick of things
  5. Albert Tuisue: N/A
  6. Semi Kunatani: 5- Put on a spirited performance and was a key man in the lineout
  7. Henry Seniloli: 4- Made quick deliveries but need to be strong with his tackles.
  8. Alvereti Veitokani: N/A

 

– Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  leonec@fijisports.com.fj

 

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