Rugby | SPORTS

Tawake Captain, Leweniqila Out

Former Fijiana 15s captain, Sereima Leweniqila, was not named in coach Senirusi Seruvakula’s 28-member squad yesterday for the Oceania Women’s Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.
23 Jun 2022 17:30
Tawake Captain, Leweniqila Out
Asinate Serevi, daughter of sevens maestro Waisale Serevi, was named in coach Senirusi Seruvakuyla’s28-member squad for teh Oceania Championship in New Zealand on July 9-17. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Former Fijiana 15s captain, Sereima Leweniqila, was not named in coach Se­nirusi Seruvakula’s 28-member squad yes­terday for the Oceania Women’s Championship in Auckland, New Zea­land.

The Fijiana 15s side will leave on July 6 for the competition which is on July 9-17. Seruvakula indicated the focus was on bringing new players into the side to experi­ence rugby at interna­tional level, where he named 18 debutants, 13 were identified from the ANZ Marama Champion­ship and Royal Tea Ra­nadi Cup.

Twelve players were from the Fijiana Drua team including over­seas-based players Jade Coates, Talei Kidd and Emma Masi.

The other three over­seas-based are Asinate Serevi, Brumbies’ Talei Wilson and Netherland-based 19-year-old Sulita Waisega. Bitila Tawake was named captain with Rachel Laqeretabua as assistant.

“A lot of girls have been left behind,” he said.

“We just focus on the local girls that are being showcasing in the Mara­ma and Ranadi Cup. So there will be a group of girls training behind.

“The main purpose is to concen­trate on our depth in the team so that when we come back they will march in together with all those girls who have been left behind,” Seruvakula added.

Combination

Being familiar with the Fijiana Drua squad, Seruvakula said the interest from women in the local competition has grown after their Super W win.

The 13-local players picked are; six from Nadroga; Miriama Ku­nagale, Seruwaia Qauqau, Kara­vaki Lutumaibau, Loata Talilevu, Adita Milina and Unaisi Tagabale, three from Suva; Makereta Bulou, Fulori Nabura, and Eavivi Seni­karivi while Nadi, Namosi and Serua have a player each who are winger Ilisapeci Delaiwau, centre Wainikiti Vosadrau and Sisilia Namatasere respectively.

“When we came back, the talent was unbelievable,” he said.

“I’ve already known the girls that went into the Super W, what they can offer. But these girls they bring another challenge into the team so that we can have a wider squad.

“The girls in the Drua, they al­ready know the system, they know how we want to play. So we try and bring new sets of girls to challenge these girls who have been to the Super W. But we are getting the standard that we want.”

Fiji faces Papua New Guinea in its first match at 3.30pm on July 9, Tonga at 7.30pm on July 13 and Sa­moa on July 17 at 3.30pm.

“The work on is on these new players to know our system, on how to play and testing them at the same time if they want to go further from the Oceania, so that’s our main focus at the moment,” Se­ruvakula said.

“A lot of these girls, this is their first time to play for Fiji and to travel and good experience for them to showcase their talent and will see when we finish the tourna­ment.”

Simon Raiwalui added: “These teams have a lot of New Zealand-based players so it will be a very good competition so it’s very good preparation for the girls who are travelling for the first time.”

Coach Michael Legge will be supervising the squad that is left behind while former Flying Fijians star players of Mosese Rauluni, Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Greg Smith have been added to the coaching panel.

Fijian XV’s squad for Oceania Championship

Joma Rubuti (Naitasiri-prop), Mereoni Namositava (Tailevu-prop) , Miriama Kunagale (Nadro­ga –prop), Vika Matarugu (Suva –hooker/prop), Litia Marama (Northland –hooker/prop), Seru­waia Qauqau (nadroga-hooker), Merevesi Ofakimalino (Naitasiri-locks), Karavaki Lutumaibau (Nadroga-locks), Jade Coates (New Zealand-locks), Lowata Talilevu (Nadroga – flanker), Makereta Bulou (Suva –Number 8), Asinate Serevi (USA-locks), Emma Masi (Australia –flanker), Fulori Nabu­ra (Suva – flanker), Sulita Waisega (Netherlands – flanker and Num­ber 8), Bitila Tawake (Naitasiri), Rejieli Uluinayau (New Zealand – halfback), Merewalesi Rokouono (Naitasiri – first firve eighth), Vi­talina Naikore (Macuata –wing), Wainikiti Vosadrau (Namosi –centre), Eavivi Senikarivi (Suva-halfback), Adita Milina (Nadroga –wing), Unaisi Tagabale (Nadro­ga- wing), Ilisapeci Delaiwau (Nadi- wing), Rachel Laqeretabua (England – Centre), Talei Kidd (New Zealand – First Five), Sisilia Namatasere (Serua – Fullback), Talei Wilson (Australia – Fullback)

Non-travelling reserves: Bulou Vasuturaga (Suva – Prop) and Sa­lote Vakaturi (Suva – Wing)

Coaching Staff:

Head coach: Senirusi Seruvakula

Head of backline: Asaeli Tikoiro­tuma

Scrum coach: Greg Smith

Defence and Skill coach: Mosese Rauluni

Lineout: Inoke Male

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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