Rugby | SPORTS

Rabele Hospitalised, Kativerata

“Joe is not well, but life goes on. The job must be done,” Kativerata said.
14 Oct 2022 12:23
Rabele Hospitalised, Kativerata
Vodafone Fiji Bati head coach Josaia Rabele.

Former Fijian double international Wise Kativerata has flown to England to take charge of an injury-hit Bati side ahead of their opening World Cup match against Australia after coach Joe Rabele was hospitalised.

Kativerata will work alongside his former Parramatta Eels teammate James Webster and ex-Leeds and Toronto Wolfpack mentor Brian McDermott, while a decision is made on whether Rabele can resume his role.

The Bati coach is understood to have fallen ill soon after the team’s arrival in England for the World Cup and McDermott was in charge for last weekend’s warm-up match, won 50-0 by England.


However, Kativerata attended the World Cup launch with Fiji captain Kevin Naiqama and said he would be calling the shots against the Kangaroos after Rabele asked him to join the camp last week.

“Joe is not well, but life goes on. The job must be done,” Kativerata said.

“Joe Rabele has been feeling sick and they asked me to come in and do his role. I will take charge on Saturday, with Brian and the boys.”

“If Joe comes back, we don’t know.

“That doesn’t change the way Kevin and the boys will prepare themselves. They are professional footballers. They get paid to play football.”



The Bati have also been calling in reinforcements for their playing squad after losing St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa, Manly’s Pio Seci and Redcliffe’s Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu.

Seci and Ratuvakacereivalu were injured in the warm-up match, while Ravalawa travelled to England with the squad but failed to overcome a hamstring injury that plagued him towards the end of the NRL season and is returning home.

“We have had a few knocks,” Kativerata said.

“But we have got a good side, so we will just focus on ourselves and when we play Australia on Saturday (Sunday, Fiji Time) we will see.”

“Rugby league is a simple sport, you keep the ball, you kick long, you force them to make mistakes and when you get the opportunity you score.”


Close Relationship

The Bati will be bolstered by the inclusion of Penrith hooker Api Koroisau, strike second-rower Viliame Kikua and star Parramatta winger Maika Sivo, while Kativerata said Canterbury halfback Brandon Wakeham would play.

Kativerata has a close relationship with many of the Bati players and recruited Kikau, Canberra centre Semi Valamei and former Eels winger Semi Radrada from Fiji.

“I live in Sydney and Joe Rabele asked me to come along and be his assistant,” he said.


“I left Fiji back in 1995 to join the Bulldogs. I have played for St George, South Sydney, I went to rugby union with Michael Cheika and I went back to rugby league with the Parramatta Eels.”

“In my role I recruit all the Fiji boys, from (former Storm winger) Sisa Waqa to Viliame Kikau, I found all of those boys.”

“We are unique because of all the players playing NRL are from Fiji, whereas Tonga and Samoa are from New Zealand and Australia so we are the only (Pacific) nation who develops our own players.”




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