SPORTS

Viliame Kikau: Young Players To Step Up

“These are players like Sitiveni Moceidreke and Mika Ravalawa who were part of the Bati squad to the World Cup but did not play.”
22 Jun 2019 14:32
Viliame Kikau: Young Players To Step Up
From Left; Viliame Kikau, Suliasi Vunivalu and Tui Kamikamica at the St Mary’s Rugby League Club in Sydney on June 20, 2019. Photo: Leone Cabenatabua Kikau: Young Players To Step Up Bulikula to play for Musunamasi Vodafone Fijian Bulikula Women’s Rugby League team at St Mary’s Rugby League Club in Sydney on June 20, 2019. Photo: Leone Cabenatabua

Vodafone Fijian Bati backrower Viliame Kikau is confident that their young side are going to do well against Lebanon Cedars in today’s Pacific Test clash at the Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Australia.

Speaking to SUNsports on Thursday night, Kikau said this is despite them losing seasoned campaigners like Tariq Sims, Api Koroisau, Kane Evans, Daniel and Jacob Safaiti.

“I’ve seen that during training these young players have really stepped out,” the Penrith Panthers terrier said.

“These are players like Sitiveni Moceidreke and Mika Ravalawa who were part of the Bati squad to the World Cup but did not play.”

Kikau said they are wary of the Lebanon side who have several NRL players as well.

“During the last World Cup, Lebanon almost beat Tonga so we cannot take them lightly.”

Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu highlighted that they are a very young side but the focus now is on the future.

“This is my second year with the Bati so I cannot say that I’m one of the experienced players. We are simply going to do what we have to do and for me it’s about doing my job on the wing.”

His Storm team mate Tui Kamikamica said they have discussed with the team about the importance of not underestimating their opponents.

Meanwhile, with the unavailability of key players Bati head coach Brandon Costin has recalled veteran Junior Roqica.

The 28-year-old former NRL player, will once again get a run on the international rugby league stage.

“Honesty, it’s the best feeling in the world,” Roqica told the Newcastle Herald.

“It’s hard to put into words. When we start singing our hymn you get such a rush of emotion. I think about my family. My mum and dad, my sister in Fiji and all of my aunties and uncles and cousins.

“I think about our small, little nation itself and how each and every day the people have a smile on their face.

“I think about the journey I’ve been on myself.”

Fiji’s clash with Lebanon at Leichhardt Oval today comes almost a decade after Roqica’s debut for the national side.

Since that day in Sydney in 2010, aged just 19, the forward has played “close to 10 times” for Fiji highlighted by World Cup appearances in 2013 and 2017.

Fiji made the tournament semi-finals on both occasions but were knocked out by Australia.

“They were the most awesome experiences of my career,” Roqica said.

Roqica said rugby league was a “growing sport” in Fiji and this weekend’s annual fixtures, also featuring Papua New Guinea and Samoa, should remain on the calendar.

“You always had Tests with Australia and New Zealand as well as State of Origin, but nothing like this,” he said.

“It’s something we all look forward to and helps grow the game, especially in the Pacific.”

Roqica will be playing not far from where he grew up and at the same ground he used for the Wests Tigers before notching up six NRL games for the Cronulla Sharks in 2014.

However, this time around he will have a new supporter in the stands – one-year-old daughter Raven next to wife Candis.

“We’re still pinching ourselves that we have a mini us running around,” he said. Roqica was part of the London Broncos squad in 2017 before returning to Australia for the World Cup that same year.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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