Rugby League | SPORTS

Valemei Starts At Centre, Captain Moved To No.6

Vodafone Fiji Bati head coach, Josaia Rabele, has rated Canberra Raiders winger now turned centre Semi Valemei.
24 Jun 2022 16:00
Valemei Starts At Centre, Captain Moved To No.6
Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Josaia Rabele and manager Tevita Korosaya at St Mary’s ground in Sydney, Australia, on June 22, 2022. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Vodafone Fiji Bati head coach, Josaia Rabele, has rated Canberra Raiders winger now turned centre Semi Valemei.

The no-nonsense coach moved Valemei to centre to form a part­nership with Waqa Blake of the Parramatta Eels in tomorrow night’s Pacific Test clash against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls.

While all eyes on Maika Sivo and Mikaele Ravalawa, Rabele highlighted that Valemei has got what it takes to be the best.

“Semi is a talented player and one of the fastest wingers in the NRL,” Rabele said of the Naivid­amu, Macuata, native, who had been playing well for the Raiders in the NRL under the watchful eyes of legendary coach, Ricky Stuart.

Vodafone Fiji Bati hooker Penioni Tagituimua during training at St Mary’s ground in Sydney, Australia, on June 22, 2022. He will start against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls on Saturday night. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Vodafone Fiji Bati hooker Penioni Tagituimua during training at St Mary’s ground in Sydney, Australia, on June 22, 2022. He will start against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls on Saturday night. Photo: Simione Haravanua

By joining the Canberra-based club, Valemei followed the foot­steps of the great Noa Nadruku and Sisa Waqa.

He was scouted by former Fijian Bati and NRL winger Wise Ka­tiverata while playing rugby for Seaqaqa Central College.

When approached Valemei said he had enjoyed his time in camp and is looking forward to the Test.

“It’s worth the experience as I get know each player and feel our energy as a team,” he said.

Valemei said to play against the Kumuls tomorrow night, means a lot to him.

“This will be special. It is a big moment for me and my fam­ily back home and for all Fijians around the world.”

ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

Vodafone Fiji Bati forwards Tui Kamikamica, left, and Taane Milne in Sydney on June 22, 2022. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Vodafone Fiji Bati forwards Tui Kamikamica, left, and Taane Milne in Sydney on June 22, 2022. Photo: Simione Haravanua

With the absence of Canter­bury Bulldogs playmaker Bran­don Wakeham due to injury, Ra­bele in another surprise move has shifted Bati captain, Kevin Naiqama to first five.

This is where he partners the elusive Nautu’a Masima, who is making his Test debut.

Masima is deemed as the Bati’s secret weapon with his elusive footwork and superb kicking skills.

The former Tongan Under-20 first five eight is pleased to play for Fiji because his grandmother is from Lau.

Veterans Sivo and Ravalawa are on the wings with young Sunia Turuva of the Penrith Panthers at fullback.

SECOND ROW

In the forwards, debutant Tan­iela Sadrugu partners Viliame Kikau in the second row while Taane Milne of the South Sydney Rabbitohs is at lock.

Penioni Tagutuimua starts at hooker after Api Koroisau with­drew from the team when he was named in the NSW Blues squad for Sunday’s second State of Ori­gin Series.1234

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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