Bati Coach Tells Of World Cup Plans

With 173 days left for the Rugby League World Cup in England, a few of the Kaiviti Silktails players are going to be blooded into the Vodafone Fijian Bati squad.
04 May 2021 11:25
Bati Coach Tells Of World Cup Plans
Star Vodafone Fijian Bati winger Maika Sivo (right) celebrates after scoring one of his two tries for Parramatta Eels as they beat Bulldogs 32-10 at Stadium Australia in Sydney on May 1, 2021. Sivo is a definite starter for the World Cup. Photo: Parramatta Eels

With 173 days left for the Rugby League World Cup in England, a few of the Kaiviti Silktails players are going to be blooded into the Vodafone Fijian Bati squad.

This was confirmed yesterday by Bati head coach Joe Rabele Dakuitoga, who will be leaving for Australia, in the next available flight. He is to check on the availability of our players playing in the National Rugby League (NRL) and also meet-up with Silktails head coach Wes Naiqama.

The purpose of the trip is to finalise the 30-member squad for the World Cup, which is from October 23- November 7.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Rabele said everything depended on the player’s performance.

“We are looking at players who have been playing well consistently,” he said.

“If we look back to the previous world cups most of the players that were selected came from the Ron Massey Cup competition.

“So I’ve to meet Wes. He’ll make his recommendation on the players that he believes can make the cut. The names he gives will be part of the 30-men squad.”

Training Programme

Rabele said they had designed a programme that would make it hard for players to sidestep their training schedule.

“The programme is based from the NRL system. We will work from the consistency of a player based on his weekly performance.”

Rabele said the Silktails was the pathway for our local -based players.

“In the past years there was no competition to expose our local-based players. We thank God for opening this door through the Kaiviti Silktails. Now our local boys are exposed to the level that we always wanted them to play in.”

Rabele said when he returns from Australia, he should have the names of the 30 players for the World Cup.

“Fijian players playing in the NRL are consistent individuals as they play every week. Their performance have been monitored by the coaching staff of their respective clubs.”

Rabele said players like Viliame Kikau, Api Koroisau, Maika Sivo, Mika Ravalawa, Tariq Sims, Brayden Williame, Waqa Blake, Daniel and Jacob Saifiti along with Brandon Wakeham were on his radar.

“When we get to Australia, we will try to get things finalised. The plan is to take 24 players to the World Cup with six players as the non-travelling reserves.

“Again, it will be based on performance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have three options to counter border restrictions.

“First option is to come prepared and camp in Fiji, second option is have the players in Australia train there while we do ours here and the third option is to meet and train in England.

“I believe the first option is good to prepare the boys here (in Fiji). We have been doing that in the previous world cups and have seen the results by reaching the semifinals three times.

“It’s better to come and prepare here so the boys have an experience of our culture and how we do things in Fiji,” he added.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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