Rugby | SPORTS

‘Loss Expected’

The disappointing perfor­mance of the Fijian Under-20 rugby team at the recent Oceania age group championships was expected, says Fiji Rugby Un­ion chief executive officer John O’Connor.
14 Jul 2022 13:02
‘Loss Expected’
Vodafone Fijian Under-20 winger Tevita Boseiwaqa attempts to stop his Australian opponent during their Oceania match on July 5, 2022, in Australia. Fiji lost heavily 5-58. Photo: Oceania Rugby

The disappointing perfor­mance of the Fijian Under-20 rugby team at the recent Oceania age group championships was expected, says Fiji Rugby Un­ion chief executive officer John O’Connor.

The side, made up of 29 men, was captained by Semi Qica. They were walloped 74-5 by New Zea­land; thumped 58-5 by Australia; and thrashed 61-5 by Argentina at the Sunshine Coast, Australia, last week.

With a report yet to arrive at the Rugby House, O’Connor said: “We haven’t had any school’s rugby in the past two years and that goes to show in the results we recorded. The results were expected.

“They have returned on Monday, but the report has not been handed in. I hope the boys have learnt from the experience and will take it on from there.”

O’Connor disclosed that once the championship report was received then they would do a review on the selection.

“Majority of the players were Under-18 and 19, as we are looking ahead in terms of the World Cham­pionship (used to be called the IRB Junior World Championship) in 2023. The exposure and standard is part of learning. We are now focus­sing on the 2023 U20 World Champi­onship,” he said.

“We are soon going to resume the Deans and secondary school’s rug­by competition where we will draw talents from.”

Of the 29-member Fijian side, five were based overseas, five from Lautoka, Nadroga and Nadi col­lectively, while the bulk were from Suva and Naitasiri, and one from Northland.

When questioned on the possi­bility of looking at opportunities or improvement for better results in the age-group performance, O’Connor was adamant that the re­sults were expected.

World Rugby U20 tournaments have proven to be a successful path­way for young talents to flourish, gain international experience and prepare for test rugby.

To replace the U20 competitions in 2022, World Rugby worked with regions and unions to identify and

financially support meaningful al­ternatives in the forms of regional tournaments to overcome the pandemic challenges and internation­al travel difficulties.

Argentina, Australia, New Zea­land and Fiji make up the Oceania block, Six-nation include England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales, Georgia and South Africa while the Canada conference (Au­gust 14-24) have Canada, Chile, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

While NZ retained the Oceania U20 title, matches were held in Aus­tralia from July 1-6; the Six-nation championship was held in Italy from June 25-July 13.

Confirmed World Rugby U20 Championship 2023 participating unions are Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.

Feedbacks: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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