Rugby | SPORTS

Test Debut Looms For Centres Vota, Ravouvou

Fijian Drua centres Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota are likely to make their Test debut for the Flying Fijians when they take on Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup opener at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on July 2.
22 Jun 2022 15:15
Test Debut Looms For Centres Vota, Ravouvou
Vinaya Habosi, Peni Matawalu and Ilaisa Droasese at the sand dunes in Sigatoka on June 21, 2022. The three Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players were named in Vern Cotter’s Flying Fijians squad, preparing for the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) Test matches next month. There were 16 players from the Drua team who were named in the squad. Fiji will host Samoa, Tonga and Australia A. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Fijian Drua centres Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota are likely to make their Test debut for the Flying Fijians when they take on Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup opener at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on July 2.

This was after Flying Fijians head coach, Vern Cotter, confirmed yes­terday that France-based second five eight Vilimoni Botitu may not be in time for the clash.

Botitu is to play for Castres in this weekend’s Top 14 grandfinal.

“The Europe-based players will be coming over, one by one, Botitu is playing the final this weekend, so he won’t be in by Monday,” he said.

Cotter added that Ben Volavola would be in soon after his mar­riage, while Temo Mayanavanua’s wife recently had a baby.

Former All Black centre Seta Ta­manivalu believes that this year’s PNC would be tougher compared to previous years.

The Japanese based-player was among the many players who are eligible to play for their nation of birth after the eligibility rules were amended by World Rugby.

Flying Fijian Team Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Flying Fijian Team Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Tonga has a number of top players including dual international mar­quee player Israel Folau, former All Black and Blues halfback Augus­tine Pulu, Malakai Fekitoa, Charles Piutau, Highlanders’ Fetuli Paea and Moana Pasifika’s outside back Solomone Kata.

To make their Test debut for Sa­moa are former Wallabies utility back Duncan Paia’aua, Waratahs front row Andrew Tuala, former New Zealand 7s rep Fritz Lee, Lyon No.8 Jordan Taufua and Moana Pasifika’s halfback Ere Enari.

“The worst thing is that the two teams have been struggling for the last two years,” Tamanivalu said.

“Our Samoan and Tongan broth­ers deserve it because their rugby union is not going really well.

“They probably need the boys to come in, not just to turn on rugby.

“The grassroots and everything they probably get more sponsors for the very reason behind it.

“It’s been going to be tough. It’s re­ally positive rugby for the commu­nity something good to watch with some big stars.

“It will make us stronger. The PNC will be tough, as there are a lot of talented players.”

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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