SPORTS | Super Rugby

Give high scorer Ratave his rightful position

Onisi Ratave currently leads the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua’s try scoring list.
10 May 2022 01:30
Give high scorer Ratave his rightful position
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players (left-right) Kalione Nasoko, Baden Kerr, Tevita Ikanivere and Onisi Ratave at the Fiji Museum in Suva on April 25, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Onisi Ratave currently leads the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua’s try scoring list.

He has so far scored six Super Rugby tries followed by flying winger Vinaya Habosi with four.

However, what many don’t realise is that Ratave had been playing out of position.

He is a centre not a winger.

Ratave had started at centre while representing Rewa and Namosi in the Skipper Cup competition.

At the 2020 Skipper Cup competi­tion, he formed a formidable part­nership with second five-eighth Kalaveti Ravouvou while Habosi was on the wing and Peni Mata­walu at halfback.

That year, Namosi dominated the local rugby scene they won and de­fended the prestigious Farebroth­er-Sullivan Trophy.

Ratave’s explosive power, ball handling skills and speed saw for­mer Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber include him in the Fijian 7s extended squad for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Baber tried him at rover and he did not disappoint.

Ratave, by that time, had caught the attention of the Flying Fijians coaching staff and was drafted into the squad that took on the All Blacks, last year.

It was while he was playing for Bay of Plenty in the New Zealand National Provincial Champion­ship they saw the 29-year-old being moved to wing. He has been play­ing there ever since.

After the Drua’s 67-5 drubbing at the hands of the Hurricanes on Sunday, the writing is on the wall for Drua head coach, Mick Byrne, to take the risk and make position­al changes in this Saturday’s clash against Moana Pasifika.

Straight running centre, Apisa­lome Vota, has become predictable and the Hurricanes simply shut him out by not giving him space to run.

Vota, while playing for Suva dur­ing the Skipper Cup was occasion­ally moved to the wing where he excelled.

But Ratave offers more options for the Drua at centre, where he will keep the opposition guessing.

His proven combination with Ra­vouvou at midfield should provide the much-needed catalyst to get us that second Super Rugby win.


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