SPORTS

Fijian Flair, A Weapon For Bati 9’s As Super League, NRL Stars Join

The Fijians are led by Super Rugby star winger Kevin Naiqama along with National Rugby League (NRL) stars of Maika Sivo, Suliasi Vunivalu, Mika Ravalawa, Waqa Blake, Taane Milne, Viliame Kikau, Isaac Lumelume and five local-based players.
15 Oct 2019 11:40
Fijian Flair, A Weapon For Bati 9’s As Super League, NRL Stars Join
Maika Sivo, Viliame Kikau and Suliasi Vunivalu.

The Vodafone Fijian Bati 9s men’s team are using the Fijian flair as their weapon in this weekend’s Rugby League World Cup 9s competition at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

The Fijians are led by Super League star winger Kevin Naiqama along with National Rugby League (NRL) stars of Maika Sivo, Suliasi Vunivalu, Mika Ravalawa, Waqa Blake, Taane Milne, Viliame Kikau, Isaac Lumelume and five local-based players.

The competition sees 12 nations play 28 matches across two action-packed days. The event will host both men and women’s tournaments.

The Fijians are in an all-Pacific affair in Pool C with rivals Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Bati head coach Brandon Costin said the team have the skills and potential that can match any team in the competition.

“We’ve to play an entertaining style of rugby league and have that Fijian flair while we don’t make any errors,” he said.

“There’s a real balance there when you compare that with what we need to do to against the Samoan, Tongan and PNG teams they have very different styles of rugby league.

“It’s a fun, enjoyable and exciting game of rugby league where we get to see the best athletes on show.

“The Pacific Island nations for years they’ve had the best athletes ever. It’s going to be great that all the Pacific nations are all in the same pool so we all get to play each other.”

Costin said their aim is to play some enterprising Fijian footy.

“We’ve picked five backs and with four Bati and NRL players. This team probably has a lot of speed. We are going to try and use much of that speed as we can this weekend.

“The two games are really different as in time factors.”

The games are going to be played at nine minutes each half.

Costin added that they are also looking at the development of the local- based players in the tournament.

“This is another stepping stone in the development of the local-based player and been able to create that transition from part time rugby league players to full time rugby league players.

“It’s going to be exciting to watch these five boys because they are good players.

“When you go into camp they are all Fijian with one heart, one mission, and one goal to play and win for Fiji.

“Going into camp with these NRL players is like coming home. There is no big names, no egos but there’s a lot of humanity and passion for Fiji.

“I believe this is my first world nines assignment so every coach has the same mission that is to perform well and win.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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