Sunvoice

Win In Rosario Another Rugby Success Story

Playing in their first World Rugby U20 Championship since they were relegated from the competition in 2014, the Tevita Ikanivere-captained side never disappointed from start to finish.
24 Jun 2019 15:16
Win In Rosario Another Rugby Success Story

Editorial:

Rugby success stories continue to bring good tidings to fans around the country.

Early this month, the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team won the 2018-19 World Sevens Series title in clinical style, winning five out of 10 tournaments on offer.

Yesterday, our Vodafone Fijian Under-20 side defied the odds at Rosario, Argentina, by consolidating their status in the tier-one competition for 2020.

Playing in their first World Rugby U20 Championship since they were relegated from the competition in 2014, the Tevita Ikanivere-captained side never disappointed from start to finish.

It was the 11th place playoff they had to win after solid performances in the pool games against eventual 2019 winner France, Wales and Georgia.

In what was an entertaining affair, Fiji saved their best performance for last as they triumphed 59-34 and consigned Scotland to their first relegation.

While Scotland have been an ever-present side in the tournament since its formation in 2008, they simply had no answer for the U20 Flying Fijians.

Ikanivere said: “It means a lot. We came out with a bang and did it for the boys last year who brought us up and for our brothers who’ll be here next year.”

Scotland captain Connor Boyle applauded the Fijians.

“We weren’t on the money. Credit to Fiji, they played their hearts out.”

The initial target was to stay as a core tier one team going into the 2020 event in Italy and the Kele Leawere-coached side came through with flying colours.

The performance is a true reflection of the development work carried out by the Fiji Rugby Union and we must thank all those involved.

And kudos must also go to World Rugby because it shows what a tier two rugby nation like Fiji can do with a right investment by the governing body.

Avoiding relegation in Rosario is a success story and an indicator that the FRU development targets are on track.

We hope to hear more rugby success stories before the year ends.

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians 42-member squad will camp next Monday in preparation for Rugby World Cup in September in Japan.

The build-up games against Canada, Samoa, New Zealand Maori (2), Tonga and Japan are important fixtures which fans are looking forward to.

Head coach John McKee and his coaching team have done the hard yards as far as the logistics for the four-yearly event is concerned.

It’s time for the players to rise above and beyond and make rugby fans proud.

The Dominiko Waqaniburotu-captained side defied the odds by beating tier one nation France last November.

We can accomplish similar feats at the RWC.

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team and the Vodafone Fijian Under-20 proved it can be done.

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

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