SPORTS

Flying Fijian, Ravai, ‘Focus On 2023’

Reaching the age of 33 at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, prop Peni Ravai said he will be a lot stronger and a much better player.
29 Oct 2019 10:27
Flying Fijian, Ravai, ‘Focus On 2023’
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians prop Peni Ravai back training with Bordeaux as they prepare for the Top 14 competition. His Flying Fijian team-mate Tevita Ratuva (back to camera). Photo: UBB

He is the only international rugby prop to play in the HSBC World Sevens Series.

Reaching the age of 33 at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, prop Peni Ravai said he will be a lot stronger and a much better player.

Speaking from France, Ravai said he has joined his club Bordeaux and is now focused on the Top 14 competition.

His club mates are Semi Radradra, Tevita Ratuva and former Fijian-born Crusaders and All Blacks centre Seta Tamanivalu.

“My aim is to play in the 2023 World Cup and nothing is hard as it depends on my preparation and also who will be the coach by then,” he said.

Ravai said during the recent World Cup he played at loosehead and tighthead positions, when the need arises.

“My body felt it but it is okay now so I have learned so much out of it moving forward. “For me and the team as a whole we’re happy with our performance against Australia and Wales.”

The Natuva, Vugalei, Tailevu native said when it comes to rugby he fears no one.

“I don’t care much about the opposition. I don’t retreat. During the World Cup and like always I’ve the heart to fight for my country which I was destined for.”

MORE LEARNINGS

Ravai said apart from his brute strength another advantage he has is his speed, which at one time saw him play for the national 7s team.

“It’s a good experience to rub shoulders with world class players here in France. I learnt a lot of things like techniques and to be playing consistently. With that experience I’m always ready to represent Fiji.”

Looking forward, the former Nadroga prop stressed the importance of having an ideal pathway for upcoming players in the country.

“This is important if we are to compete against Tier 1 nations at the next Rugby World Cup.

“We should now forget about the 2019 RWC and focus on the 2023 tournament. That’s over now and there is nothing we can do.

PATHWAYS

“But what we need is a good pathway from grassroots level right through to the national team.

“There is no cross cut to the white jersey and we need to work hard to earn it.”

Ravai said for players eyeing for the RWC 2023, they should set their goals and start preparing for that now.

“What we need in Fiji is professional coaches that can guide our young players from primary schools right through to the Fijian Drua and Fijian Latui.

“They should be taught on scrum techniques, lineouts and defence structure and attack.

“So when a player reaches the national team environment he’s familiar with his position and role he plays.

“Local-based players are lucky to get their skills exposed to clubs around the world which is a plus for their future and Fiji Rugby as a whole.”

MORE TIME

He believes the team needs more game time together and team bonding for players to know one another’s game strength.

“I believe we should build-up the team and it has to start now so during the World Cup year the players know each other’s capability as in their strength and weak points.

“We need to train hard, commit ourselves to the preparations of the team as a whole, and stay focused on the job ahead of us.

“You need to believe in yourselves. For me I was a local player before I made it.

“I started playing in 2010 and there was no proper pathway in place so

“I had to work hard to make it to the Flying Fijians and secure an overseas contract.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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