Naikore’s Rise Boosts Macuata Rugby

The Macuata Rugby Union believes the province has potential players who could make the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua and the Swire Shipping Fi­jian Drua teams.
25 Apr 2022 11:28
Naikore’s Rise Boosts Macuata Rugby
Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua players (left-right) Karalaini Naisewa, Vitalina Naikore and Roela Radiniyavuni react at the sound of the final whistle against NSW Waratahs in the Super W grandfinal at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, on April 23, 2022. Fijiana Drua won 32-26. Photo: FRU Media

The Macuata Rugby Union believes the province has potential players who could make the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua and the Swire Shipping Fi­jian Drua teams.

These were the words of MRU president Maikali Dimuri after the sterling performance of Fijiana Drua winger Vitalina Naikore in the Super W grandfinal against the Waratahs on Saturday.

Naikore scored three tries and kicked over a conversion in the Drua’s 32-26 win.

“I feel overjoyed to see the suc­cess Naikore received and all thanks goes to God Almighty for providing her the talent,” Dimuri said.

Naikore plays for the Macuata women rugby side that won the 2020 Vodafone Vanua Champion­ship. She scored two tries when they beat Serua 34-24 in the final.

The MRU has produced top rugby players like Emosi Tatawaqa, Joe Naikidi, Jope Tuikabe, Orisi Sare­ki, Filipo Daugunu, Tevita Dau­gunu, Kameli Soejima, Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Viniana Riwai and Naikore.

Macuata 15s women’s coach, Motu Lalagavesi, said they are proud of Naikore’s achievement

She said they were delighted to watch Naikore play and worked her magic in scoring three tries.

“After our friendly match against Police on Saturday at Subrail Park, we decided as a team to gather to­gether and watch our sister (Nai­kore) mesmerise the world with her silky skills,” she said.

Victory for all

Lalagavesi encouraged the cur­rent 25-member squad prepar­ing for the Ranadi Cup (formerly known as Vanua Championship) to follow Naikore’s footsteps and be­come professional rugby players.

“We had four players selected during the trials for the Fijiana Drua, but three could not make the cut for the final squad because of family issues and other factors,” she said.

Naikore hails from Nadivakarua Village in Kubulau, Bua, but stays with her guardian in Labasa where she does her tertiary studies.

The province of Bua is also home to Mosese Taga, Timoci Wainiqolo, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, Savenaca Rawaca, William Ryder, Ilai Tinai and the list goes on.

“It is not just a victory for Macua­ta only but for every woman in the Northern Division who dreams of donning the Fijiana jersey in the near future,” Lalagavesi said.

Naikore told FRU Media that she made the switch from football to rugby.

“I’m really proud of this win. It’s for my family back home who sup­ported me when I participated in this tournament.

“Also to my relatives, my aunt and uncle, who supported me when I was schooling in Holy Family Sec­ondary School,” Naikore said.

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