Primed For Rugby

We’ve been training well for the last couple of weeks and we’re expecting to turn it on in our first game against the China Lions: Teti Tela
13 Mar 2020 10:52
Primed For Rugby
The Fijian Latui rugby squad at Bidesi Park in Suva on March 12, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fijian Latui first five- eighth Teti Tela is looking forward to his first game in the Global Rapid Rugby competition at the ANZ Stadium, Suva tomorrow.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, Tela is expecting the game to be fast and appealing.

“It’s my first time playing Global Rapid Rugby and I’ve got a pretty good understanding of the game,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be quite quick and is going to suit the Fijian style.”

Fijian Latui squad member Teti Tela. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fijian Latui squad member Teti Tela. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Tela made his mark when he starred for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians when they beat the Barbarians 33-31 in Twickenham in London last November.

He was then invited by head coach Senirusi Seruvakula to play for Latui. While a few young boys are new to the GRR tournament, the rest of the players are adapting well, with the assistance of the Fijian Drua players who were part of the team last year.

“We have been training well for the last couple of weeks and we are expecting to turn it on in our first game against the China Lions.”

Tela, along with former Vodafone Fijian Under-20 captain Tevita Ikanivere and Caleb Muntz, are likely to make the squad.

The Lions squad are predominantly made up of Bay of Plenty Rugby Union players, however, they have recruited from outside, including Southland’s Greg Pleasants-Tate, Ray Tatafu, and Lio Tosi.

“It is tough when you lose three boys from your club comp, but luckily all three boys didn’t come from the same club. These boys have got a great opportunity to play in a professional competition after not being picked up by Super teams. It’s the sign of the times,” Stags coach Dale McLeod said.

Tosi re-signed with Rugby Southland last year as a No 8, but MacLeod confirmed it was now at tight-head prop where he saw Tosi’s future in the game. Tosi is being converted into a tight-head prop and it will be with the China Lions where much of the development will be done before the start of the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup season.

MacLeod got a look at Tosi playing at prop for a Southland Invitational team against Nadroga at Waimumu last month, and it rubber-stamped the plan for a positional switch.

In recent years he has been one of the most destructive players with ball in hand in the Southland system, but he has been unable to make a mark with the Stags because of concerns around his work rate.

MacLeod feels Tosi’s attributes will be better suited to the front row.

“He is about 145kg, he’s a big physical beast, in the gym he is a power freak, and if you look at this fella, [prop] is where he could make it at the next level.”

“If he makes a go of it, I can see him being a Super prop next year. He would add a new dimension [to the frontrow].”

Fijian Latui take on China Lions tomorrow at 6:15pm.

Edited by Osea Bola


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