Rugby League

Fiji Bati Coach To Decide On Captaincy

The unavailability of Tariq Sims and Daniel Safaiti due to State of Origin 2 and coupled with the injuries to hooker Api Koroisau and Kane Evans mean that Costin is in for a tough time to determine the captain.
19 Jun 2019 18:11
Fiji Bati Coach To Decide On Captaincy
Vodafone Fijian Bati reps (left-right) Maika Sivo, Mikaele Ravalawa, Penioni Tagutuimua, Vili Kikau, Suliasi Vunivalu during training in Sydney, Australia on June 17, 2019. Photo: FNRL

Vodafone Fijian Bati head coach Bradon Costin is expected to name his captain for the Pacific Test clash against Lebanon Cedars at the Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Australia on Saturday.

The Bati were not able to get the services of captain, Kevin Naiqama who was tied up with his Super Rugby League commitments in London.

However, Costin said since this is the first time for him to work with some of the NRL players he would take the next few days to monitor them and see the influence they have in the team before naming his captain.

The unavailability of Tariq Sims and Daniel Safaiti due to State of Origin 2 and coupled with the injuries to hooker Api Koroisau and Kane Evans mean that Costin is in for a tough time to determine the captain.

From the current squad, the front runner is Sharks forward Jayson Bukuya who has also done the job before and probably the most experienced player in the side. Other contenders could be Korbin Sims, Suliasi Vunivalu or even Vili Kikau.


Key match-up: Whether he likes it or not (and he probably loves it given his competitive nature and immeasurable pride), Tim Mannah has to shoulder a lot of responsibility if Lebanon are going to spring an upset.

The evergreen front-rower will match motors with another proud warrior in Korbin Sims and their battle up front should be a beauty.

For Fiji to win: As long as they don’t take their opponents for granted, the flamboyant Fijians should have too much firepower all over the park.

They beat Lebanon 40-28 in 2014 and it’ll be interesting to see if the gap has closed or widened in five years. Korbin Sims should combine with fellow forwards Bukuya and Vili Kamikamica to lay a solid platform up front. If all else fails, just give the ball to Vili Kikau and get out of the way.

For Lebanon to win: Farah will need to produce a man of the match performance while Mannah will have to play like Glenn Lazarus.

No doubt they’ll miss the flair and creativity of Moses, but if they can hold their own with the Bati forwards, Farah might have enough tricks up his sleeve to give the Cedars a fighting chance.

Stat Attack: Maika Sivo has quickly established himself as one of the game’s most exciting players. The Eels winger is among the NRL’s top five for tries (12) and line breaks (12).

And another thing … It will be a big test for the Bati, as their former head coach Rick Stone is now coaching Lebanon. Stoney guided the Bati to a World Cup semi-final in London in 2013 and also to a historic Test win over the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in the Highlands.


Fiji Bati:

Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Suliasi Vunivalu (Melbourne Storm), Isaac Lumelume (Cronulla Sharks), Mikaele Ravalawa (St George Illawarra Dragons), Maika Sivo (Parramatta Eels), Siti Moceidreke (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Brandon Wakeham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Tui Kamikamica (Melbourne Storm), Joe Lovodua (St George Illawarra Dragons), Junior Roqica (Central Newcastle Butcher Boys), Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers), Ta’ane Milne (Warriors), Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks), D’Rhys Miller (Wentworthville Magpies), Salesi Fainga (Parramatta Eels), Korbin Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Penioni Tagituimua (Nadera Panthers), Ratu Nanovo (Penrith Panthers).

Lebanon Cedars:

Jalal Bazzaz (St George Illawarra), Toufic El Hage (American University of Beirut),  Ahmad Ellaz (Cabramatta), Elie El-Zakhem (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers),  Amer Ghazzaoui (Sydney Roosters), Kayne Kalache (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Nick Kassis (Wentworthville), Jacob Kiraz (North Queensland Cowboys), Anthony Layoun (Mounties), Michael Lichaa (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Allan Lockwood (Burleigh Bears), Bilal Maarbani (Wests Tigers), Tim Mannah (Parramatta Eels), Josh Mansour (Penrith Panthers), Abbas Miskie (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles),  Reece Robinson (Queanbeyan)**, James Roumanos (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Ali Saad (North Sydney Bears), Khaled Tamer, Georges Yazbek (University of Balamand), Michel El Tom (University of Beirut)

Edited by  Grace Narayan

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