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Rising Stallions To Tour NZ

Defending Farebrother Sullivan Trophy champions Nadroga are using their New Zealand tour for the exposure of their young players.
25 Jan 2020 14:52
Rising Stallions To Tour NZ
Veteran Nadroga prop Setefano Samoca is to play a mentoring role to the young players during the tour. Photo: Nadroga Rugby

Defending Farebrother Sullivan Trophy champions Nadroga are using their New Zealand tour for the exposure of their young players.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Nadroga Rugby Union president Tiko Matawalu said the tour is part of their preparation for the 2020 season.

“This trip to New Zealand is sponsored by River Safari together with our hosts Southland Rugby,” the former Flying Fijians prop said.

‘We are fortunate to be given this opportunity of this pre-season match as we build-up for the 2020 Skipper Cup Premiership.”

Matawalu said the match is set for February 13 and it’s going to be a four-day tour.

“We are departing on February 11 and return on February 15. It’s a short and exciting trip for us as we can gauge ourselves before the new season starts. We’re taking a group of 30 that includes 28 players and 2 officials.”

“Southland Rugby usually host the annual Shield Day event. So they opted to invite a team from Fiji and it happened to be Nadroga who is one of the powerhouses of Fiji Rugby. So we are happy enough to accept the invitation given the fact that everything was paid for.”

Matawalu said the team would be a mixture of young and experienced players.

“We’re having a mixture of senior and young players who will be raising their hands for the 2020 season. This group will be without players who are in the Latui and Drua teams.”

He confirmed that senior players like Setefano Samoca, Emosi Vucago and Josese Kurukavu are going to mentor the young players during the tour.

“Other players in this group are young and emerging ones who we feel are ready to carry the name of our province throughout this season.

“We’re into week two of preparations we have another two weeks to go before we depart. Everything is looking good at the moment with players engaging themselves with our weekly Super Rugby franchise competition.”

SOUTHLAND READY

Southland Stags coach Dale MacLeod has named a training squad to prepare for a showdown against Fijian team Nadroga at Waimumu on February 13.

The Southland Invitational team’s game against Nadroga will be played at Fred Booth Park as part of this year’s Waimumu Field Days.

The Highlanders and Crusaders have previously played pre-season games as part of the Waimumu Field Days but this year the game will be played in Wanaka instead.

At the end of 2019 MacLeod put a call out to clubs to put forward their best players with MacLeod then selecting a training squad of 35 players.

“At this time of year it can be hard for players to stay motivated and focus on the game, our boys have been training in their own time over the holiday break, simply because they want to be a part of the final squad,” he said.

The squad will train over the next three weeks, with a squad of 30 then being named prior to two final trainings on the week of the game.

Southland- Joe Walsh, Cole Williams, Matt James, Curtis Williams*, Charles Alaimalo, Lewis Ormond, Tauasosi Tuimavave, Josh Moorby (Woodlands), Shaun Stodart, Aleki Saili*, Lio Tosi (Marist), Chris Apoua, Leo Wiki*, Greg Pleasants-Tate (Star), Jacob Payne*, Ben Paulin, Arese Poliko*, Jay Renton, Osika Kaufononga, Ryan Taylor*, Ray Tatafu (Star), Albert Qoro*, Brenton Howden (Barbarians), Craig Smith, Matt Heffernan, Jaye Thompson, Materua Tupou, Isaac Te Tamaki (Pirates-Old Boys), Logan Howe, Tyrone Braven (Wyndham), Bram Fodie, Devon MacLeod* (Edendale), Henry Earland* (Midlands), Hayden Michaels* (Gore High), Jacob Coghlan (club TBC).

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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