Fiji Sun » SPORTS Leading Fiji newspaper for Fiji News, Sport and Pacific news Mon, 18 Feb 2019 04:56:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fiji Rugby 7s: Team Train At Lawaqa Park Before Departing For USA Mon, 18 Feb 2019 04:26:18 +0000 The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s side will set up camp in the West this week before flying out for the USA on Friday ahead of the Las Vegas 7s set to kickoff on March 1st.

Gareth Baber will continue with the extended squad of 18 players for this final preparation phase, maintaining the fiercely competitive training environment the players have been performing in for the last few weeks.

“All the players from last week will be in again this week. Some of the newer players have put their hands up which is good, and what I want. But I’m obviously still looking for that consistency, continuity in the squad and making sure that we’re going to be as competitive as we can.” he said.

“We’ll keep working on the finer points of what we need to do in these next tournaments, to climb to the top of the table.”

Before he finalises the team to head to Las Vegas, the Fijian squad will spend time familiarising themselves with the conditions and atmosphere they expect to encounter during this tournament.

“This week we’ll be training a bit more under lights which is important because in Vegas and in Vancouver you play into the night, so it’s important to get some familiarisation with that before we head off.”

Baber explained that players will continue to train at Lawaqa till Wednesday where they will than go on a short leave to spend time with families before jetting off for the US on Friday.

Leaving the extra two days earlier for the USA and Canada legs helps to manage the 22 hours travel schedule and ensure the team get a bit ahead of playing catch up through the week and put the players in the best position to perform day one of tournament.

“For anybody who ever has travelled across the world knows it’s tough on your body and mind, so we go that little bit earlier, with the support of the FRU. It’s only a couple of days earlier, but I want us to be there on Sunday and ready to go. It prevents injury, protects from injury and illness when we’re in a good position through the harder work days after travel.”

Fiji is in pool D with Australia, Wales and Scotland, their first match kicks off at 11:22pm FJT on Saturday 2nd March against the Scots.

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Be Patient, Suva FC Coach Intiaz Khan Tells Fans Mon, 18 Feb 2019 02:43:15 +0000 Coach Intiaz Khan has asked for patience after his Suva team narrowly beat a determined Nasinu 3-2 in the Vodafone Premier League yesterday.

A goal each from Gagame Feni, Anare Apenisa and Shahil Dave secured Suva a crucial victory after successive losses to Tavua and Ba.

It was anything but an easy victory for Suva though, with Nasinu taking the capital city side to wire at the ANZ Stadium.
Nasinu scored twice through Jone Naraba and Semi Matalau but were unlucky to concede late on.
The win also eased the pressure on Khan who only had a single vic- tory to his name prior to this match since becoming head coach.
His counterpart Nathan Shivam refused to speak to the media after the match, an indication of the emotions involved with Nasinu’s late loss.

Solomon Islander Feni gave Suva the lead early in the first half after a smart pass from new signing Iosefo Verevou created space for the striker.
Verevou was the focal point to most of Suva’s attacking play, accurately spraying passes from midfield for wingers Feni and Anare Apenisa to chase.

Naraba equalised for Nasinu 15 minutes later, picking up from where he left off against Labasa with another goal this week.
The goal came after an impressive run by Leone Damudamu which unsettled the Suva defence, clearing the way for Naraba to place the ball past goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau.

Suva tried chipping away at their opponents in the first half with sustained pressure from midfield, while Nasinu relied on the counter- attack.
Matalau missed a great chance mid-way in the first half after Suva failed to deal with yet another counter attack.

One on one against Tamanisau, Matalau dribbled past the goalkeeper but failed to beat a retreating Remueru Tekiate who defended the situation well.
Suva then took the lead through Apenisa who converted a brilliantly judged Verevou pass beating Nasinu goalkeeper Alzaar Alam with a driven shot from the right.
The goal angered Shivam, who urged the Nasinu defenders to close down the Suva attackers quicker.

Suva’s defence began making crucial mistakes in second half and Matalau happily obliged, drawing Nasinu level again in the 50th minute.
The match seemed to be heading to a draw until substitute Dave freed himself to unleash a powerful shot past Azaam to give Suva the lead.

The win leaves Suva in 3rd place with 6 points after four matches, while Nasinu dropped to 7th with three points in as many games.

Suva coach Intiaz Khan said: “It was a crucial three points but I’m still unhappy with a few things like the mindset of the players. The fans should judge my players after another two games because only now is the team starting to gel. The players are not playing as a team at the moment so I want to fix that training.

“On a personal level, I am happy to get my second win as coach although there has been a lot of pressure.”
Nasinu defender Joeli Ranitu said: “We worked very hard but the team lost concentration at a crucial time and Suva punished us.

“But the team is shaping up well and we are confident of doing well this season.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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Rewa FC Interim Coach Nigel Khan Quits After Nadi Hiding Mon, 18 Feb 2019 02:11:47 +0000 Rewa interim coach Nigel Khan has quit after the 6-1 drubbing by Nadi in the Vodafone Premier League match yesterday.

“You have seen how bad the senior boys played today,” Khan said at Prince Charles Park.

“This kind of performance is pathetic.

“Senior boys have no heart and if they perform this way then they won’t find their name in the team.

“It is heartbreaking and this is my last game. Rewa has to choose either the coach or the players.”

National and Nadi striker Rusiate Matererega scored four goals in the win.

This has put Nadi into second spot on the standing with six points from two wins behind leaders’ Ba (7).
The Delta Tigers are in the bottom spot with three points from four outings this season.

The home side took the lead with Matererega opening the flood- gates in the 2nd minute.
Two minutes later midfielder Christopher Kumar extended the lead 2-0.
In the 6th minute defender Ame Votonui scored for the team to take the lead 3-0. Matererega added another through a penalty at the stroke of halftime.

Halftime: Nadi 4- 0 Rewa.
Nadi upped the momentum in the second half with Matererega scoring in the 51st and 90th min- ute

Matererega played a complete game.

Defender Rupeni Rabici stood his ground.

Nadi coach Pranesh Amarsee said: “The scoreline tells it all. This is a young side and we have faith in them.”

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 2.04.30 PM copy

Edited by Osea Bola

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Sebastian ‘Sniper’ Singh: Loss To Bowyn Morgan Was Tough Mon, 18 Feb 2019 01:36:12 +0000 Boxer Sebastian Singh says he emotionally broke down and was ‘lost’ in the days following his defeat to top New Zealand welterweight Bowyn Morgan last year.

Singh lost by technical knockout in the third round when the two met at Christchurch’s Hornacastle Arena last December, in an undercard to former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker vs Alexander Flores.

The 24-year-old says the loss to Morgan – his third career defeat – was emotionally and mentally draining because it felt like a lost opportunity.

He says he wants to work hard this year and earn a rematch against Morgan, who is the Pro Box New Zealand super welterweight title holder.

“Recovering from the loss was one of the toughest moments in my career,” Singh said.

“But no champion can say they have never lost and personally, I’m proud the promoters selected me to fight at that event.

“People all over the world watched that fight and it’s the first time they saw the Fijian flag hoisted at that level.”

Singh brushed aside the criticism – and in some cases abuse – he received on social media after the loss, saying “online trolls” did not bother him.

“I’m not worried about the people criticising me on social media because, remember, everyone hated Joy Ali but he was the best,” he said.

“They hated Ali because he was just too good and no local boxer could match him.

“No matter what anybody says, locally there is no boxer who has beaten me yet. I’m not saying no-one can beat me, I’m saying no-one has.”

The boxer also revealed plans to move his training camp overseas in the next two weeks.

Tight-lipped on specific details, Singh says he wants to do proper background checks first before committing to any team overseas.

“We are speaking to a few big teams from Australia, New Zealand and even as far as Argentina, but we will reveal more in the weeks to come,” Singh said.

Edited by Osea Bola


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Fiji Airways Fiji 7s Player Mesulame Kunavula Wanted Sun, 17 Feb 2019 21:20:14 +0000 Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Mesulame Kunavula is wanted by France Top 14 club Bordeaux Begles.

The club is desperately seeking the services of Nadroumai, Nadroga, native to fill in the No. 8 position.

In a text from the club agent to SUNsports yesterday, it stated; “Bordeaux wants #8 reckons can get Kunavula, thanks.”

The agent spoke to Kunavula yesterday who referred them to consult first with the Fiji Rugby Union

If dialogue is successful the Fijian 7s forward will team up with Fiji Airways Flying Fijians centre Semi Radradra, prop Peni Ravai, former Crusaders/All Blacks winger Setareki Tamanivalu, former Queensland Reds winger Eto Nabuli, 22-year old flanker Kitione Kamikamica and Tevita Ratuva.

Kunavula made his debut at the 2017/2018 Wellington 7s series at the age of 20. The special constable is known for his rugged attacking and offloading skills.

He competes competitively to win kickoffs and always on target defensively.

The Nadroga native is training ahead of the third leg of the Sevens World Series in Las Vegas on March 1-3 and Vancouver 7s on March 7-8.

Edited by Osea Bola

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Sniper: Give Me Abhay For The Title Sun, 17 Feb 2019 02:20:42 +0000 Boxer Sebastian ‘Sniper’ Singh wants to meet middleweight slugger Abhay Chand in a ti­tle fight this year and has called on promoters to make it happen.

Chand challenged Singh after beat­ing Nereo Cakautini by technical knockout in the second round of their middleweight fight at Prince Charles Park, Nadi last week.

Singh, 24, says he would love to fight the Navosa-based boxer in Suva and extend his unbeaten record against local boxers.

“Since Abhay has been chasing me for quite some time, I guess I’m the big name in local boxing now,” he said.

“Personally, I’d love to fight him and I think it should be for the Fiji super welterweight title.

“He’s got a good amateur and pro­fessional background and he’s fought a top boxer in Opeti Tagi three times so it will be a good, tough fight.”

The 39-year-old Chand has a profes­sional record of 23 wins, 15 losses and four draws; while Singh’s stands at 11 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw.

Singh’s lost his last fight to New Zealand’s, Bowyn Morgan, last year in Christchurch in an undercard to former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker v Alexander Flores.

The Suva boxer’s potential caught the eye of overseas promoters who gave Singh his first big break against New Zealand’s top ranked welter­weight.

However, Singh was criticised for not making the cut-off weight for the bout, weighing in at 72.45 kilograms­me to Morgan’s 69.8kg.

The Suva boxer says maintaining his weight would be a top priority this year.

“My team has really emphasised the need for me to maintain my weight this year since I’ve missed out on the cut-off a couple of times,” he said.

“I want to re-build myself from scratch after that Morgan loss and I know it will take a lot of dedication and discipline.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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Fijian Special In Japan Sun, 17 Feb 2019 00:26:32 +0000 Mesulame Dolokoto believes the Fiji Airways Flying Fi­jians can do special things at the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup in September.

The 23-year old hooker made his test debut in the 17-54 loss against Scotland at Murrayfield during the Northern tour last year. The Savusavu, Cakaudrove native is optimistic of making the cut to Ja­pan, drawing encouragement from his performances against Scotland, Uruguay and France.

He played an important role as a late substitute in helping protect Fiji’s 21-17 lead against France, in what turned out to be a historic win last November. During one of the highlights of the game, Dolokoto held his ground against a late French scrum with Leone Na­karawa urging him to stay firm from the background because “the French players are only humans.”

A video of the scrum was shared more than 500 times on the popular social network site, Twitter.

“That moment when Na­karawa was screaming at me during the scrum was mas­sively encouraging, espe­cially coming from a player like him,” Dolokoto said.

He believes the team will have to raise their stand­ards in Japan if success is to be achieved on the grand stage of rugby.

“All the teams will now start looking at us as poten­tial giant-killers so I think the boys will need to step up fur­ther and maintain those stand­ards,” he said.

“The World Cup is a dif­ferent level from the northern tour so we will need to be at our best if we are to achieve success. This team has the potential to do something special because we are a tight-knit group – both senior and junior players – so I’m confident of our chances.”

The Brumbies academy gradu­ate wants to work on his fit­ness and scrummaging before the Flying Fijians march into camp for the June-July tests.

“My chances of being se­lected will depend on the hard work I do in training,” he said.

“The team has a lot of tal­ented players, but if I stay focussed I know everything will work out.”

Flying Fijians head coach John McKee selected Doloko­to for the Northern tour based on his stellar perfor­mances for the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua last year.

The Drua experi­ence helped him en­hance his reputation as sturdy for­ward with valuable passing and tackling abilities. His first chance to impress this season will come dur­ing the Skipper Cup Premiership that starts in April.

Dolokoto has been included in the Suva squad for the new season and wants to help the team defend the Skipper Cup this year.

“It will be tough domestic season this year, especially coming up against my Drua and Flying Fijians teammates,” he said.

“I want to focus on making the cut to the world cup so I’ll be working really hard throughout the sea­son.”

Fiji are in Pool D with Australia, Wales, Geor­gia, Uruguay.

Edited by Osea Bola


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House Kakala Crowned Champions Of 2019 ACS Inter House Sat, 16 Feb 2019 23:47:51 +0000 Kakala won the 2019 Adi Ca­kobau School Inter house athletics competition at the ANZ Stadium , Suva yesterday.

The ladies in blue walked home with 18 gold,14 silvers and 12 bronze medals while 2018 cham­pions Uci finished second with 14 gold, 12 silvers, 14 bronze, Lagakali came third with 9 gold, 12 silvers, 6 bronze) while Mokosoi fourth with 5 gold, 9 silvers, 14 bronze.

Vice-Principal Laniana Tawake believes they would need to touch up on the basics and focus on the Triple N Zone meet on March 8 be­fore selecting a strong squad to de­fend the girl’s title at the 2019 Coca-Cola Games in April.

The school has been facing diffi­culties during training due to the unfavourable weather condition.

“We have to do our ground work first, in the past four weeks it’s been raining heavily in school and our girls couldn’t do their training well,”she said.

“So for now we are focusing on improving our performance for the Triple N Zone and after the zone then we will set our focus on the Coca-Cola Games.

“We will have to work on both track and field events.”

ACS will face a strong challenge from their rivals Jasper Williams High School who will have former ACS intermediate girl’s sprinter Salote Baravilala bolstering the senior girls division.

“This is always a challenge for us every year when our elite athletes leave us to join other schools. We have new athletes coming in but I’m sure these athletes will do their best.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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Naresia Laid To Rest Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:48 +0000 Members of the national and Nadi rugby fraternity bid their final farewell to the former Flying Fijian and Nadi rugby captain Peniame Naresia at Narewa Village in Nadi on Friday.

Known as the Gentle Giant, Nar­esia passed away at the age of 71.

Speaking at Vatulevu Church dur­ing the funeral service Taniela Vo­cevoce said, Naresia first played for Nadi at the age of 21.

“He was called into the team after Nasivi Ravouvou was with the Fiji team during an overseas tour,” Vo­cevoce said.

“Peniame later captained Nadi and he was a disciplined player.”

Naresia made his Test debut against Tonga in 1972 and played a total of 7 test matches.

He was later honoured by the Fiji Rugby Union at Churchill Park, Lautoka on June 2018.

The former Nadi great, had two brothers Jona Qoro and Vuata Nar­esia Snr who also donned the Nadi and national rugby jumper with pride.

He is survived by his daughter and four grandchildren.

Edited by Osea Bola


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I’ll be ready for Salote:Vakaloloma Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:47 +0000 Adi Cakobau School senior girl’s sprinter Jessie Vaka­loloma is up for the chal­lenge against former teammate Salote Baravilala who is likely to represent Jasper Williams High School at the 2019 Coca-Cola Games in April.

The Natokalau, Matuku, Lau native won gold for her Lagakali House in the senior girls 100m final with a time of 13.19 secs and also made a strong finish in the 4x100m relay.

“I’m happy with my performance and I’m looking forward to a strong finish at the Coca-Cola Games,” Vakaloloma said.

She has never won a gold medal in 100m at the Coca-Cola Games since sub junior grade. But she is upbeat of creating history this year as she is likely to face Baravilala.

“I will be ready for Salote, my focus now is to prepare for Triple N Zone and better my time at the Coke Games.”

Vakaloloma is the daughter of former national pole vault cham­pion Iowana Sera Vakaloloma who set a national record of 2.90m in the 2003 Pacific Games.

Edited by Osea Bola


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Naqamu Drop Goal Lifts Hurricanes Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:46 +0000 Aborosio Naqamu’s drop goal at full-time was enough for Hidea­way Hurricanes to beat Ratu Fil­ise 8-5 and scoop the Martintar 7s title at Prince Charles Park, Nadi yesterday.

Trailing 5-0, at the start of the second half, Anare Namalanicagi burst his way through to score for Hideaway.

The side fielded the likes of Sakenasa Vuli, Mesake Seavula, Sireli Daivalu and Ilai Nareki.

Victorious Hideaway skipper Paula Gonerogo said, “It was tough tourna­ment and I thank the players for their hard work which enabled us the win.”

He said Ratu Filise had big forwards but were slow.

“So we capitalised on that but other­wise they were a great side too,”

Ratu Filise had the services of for­mer Fiji Airways Fijian 7s playmaker Amenoni Nasilasila, Ifereimi Tovilevu, Vio Batibasaga, and Vetaia Natoga.

Hurricanes walked away with $5000 while Ratu Filise settled for $2000.

Naqamu also won the best player award for the two-day event.


Cup semi-finals- Hideaway Hurricanes 19-0 Nasonini Blues, Police 5- 19 Ratu Filise; Bowl final- Wardens Gold 22- 12 Malakai Eagles; Shield final- Yamacia 12 – 26 JB brother Sorokoba; Plate final: BLK Nadroga 7- 5 Saunaka

Edited by Osea Bola


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Sevens Wrap Up A Week Of Preparation At The Dunes Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:44 +0000 Gareth Baber knows his players need to be at their best form if they are to win the Las Vegas-Vancouver leg of the World Sevens Se­ries next month.

And the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach is doing it the tough way through­out the week culminating with the hard grind at the Sigatoka sand dunes yester­day morning.

“At the sand dunes you certainly ask questions about yourselves,” Baber said.

“You see other people going through the same process and you need to prove that you have the ability to be selected to play in the next two tournaments.

“They have worked hard all week. It’s always a good asset for players who haven’t been in our environment to sud­denly understand the way we trained and what’s expected of them. But they have all worked hard from when we started on Tuesday right through to Sat­urday morning at the dunes.

“I think that they get the levels of un­derstanding that they need to be at and they showed courage to date with the others to stay and work hard and keep pushing and I have been pleased with their work efforts.”

Out of the last four tournaments, Fiji have won two in Cape Town and Hamilton and now third on 72 points behind joint leaders New Zealand and USA (76).

“It is huge, every tournament and there is good competition from New Zealand, USA, South Africa, England,” Baber said.

“We all know that if you’re off your game by a percent or two, any team can catch anybody and that’s where we need to put ourselves on top of our game.

“We keep talking about being able to put back to back tournaments to­gether and have that consistency.”

Fiji are top seed in Pool D along­side Australia, Wales and Scotland at the Las Vegas 7s which kicks off on March 1-3 and Vancouver 7s the following weekend.

Meanwhile, Baber confirmed Ser­emaia Tuwai and is recovering from a hamstring injury and skip­per Kalione Nasoko had a slight sprain on his ankle during training on Thursday .

“We trained against each other on some games on Thursday. We’ve got to do contact against each other. Playing and training against other teams is always going to be diffi­cult,” Baber said.

“You guard against what you can but you again have to pick up a cou­ple of things. There is nothing ma­jor to worry about for Nasoko and Tuwai but I think the sand dunes was not the best place for them to be so we have put them in the gym in Lawaqa.”

They return to camp tomorrow to resume training at Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka. Edited by Osea Bola


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NRL Club Scouts Here For Young Talents Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:36 +0000 National Rugby League (NRL) club Auckland Warriors sent their recruitment officers to check out young talents playing at the Vodafone Fiji Secondary Schools Rugby League compe­tition.

This was confirmed to SUN­sports yesterday by FNRL de­velopment officer Jone Wesele.

“The Warriors people were here for two Saturdays before they returned to Auckland,” the former Fijian Bati forward said.

“I don’t really know whether they had signed up any play­ers but they were welcomed at Ratu Cakobau Park during the first week of competition.”

Wesele said they are grate­ful to the teachers for work­ing closely with the voluntary referees, players and coaching staff in helping develop the children’s skill level and also how they play.

“We’re working on consist­ency on how players know the game but moreover to know what they’re doing. Any mis­takes they make this week should not be repreated follow­ing week.”

He said one of the challenges they’re facing is the transition of young players from the pri­mary school to the Under-15 grade. “We’ve seen improve­ments not only in that but on the overall play as well.”

Looking forward, Wesele says, the move now is to help send forwards abroad to play for the NRL clubs.

“We’ve lots of wings and cen­tres with NRL clubs but we need to send the forwards. The only forwards from the second­ary school level who are doing well with their NRL clubs are Vili Kikau for Penrith Panthers and Tui Kamikamica for Mel­bourne Storm. We need to send some of the forwards soon.”


U15 – Sila Central 22 -12 RSMS, RSC 4-4 LDS, AOG 18-4 DHS, RKS 68-0 MCI, QVS 10-4 NSS.

U17 – QVS 66-2 LDS,AOG 20-20 WCC, MCI 0-50 SMC, DHS 14-8RLC,NSS 8-12 RSMS, MBHS 80-0AMC.

U19 – QVS 32-16, JWC 28-0 AOG, Naitasiri wbd SHC, LDS 26-14 DHS, Lomary 14-8 Rewa, RKS 24-6 NSS.

Edited by Osea Bola


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Sports Club Donates $11k To Charity Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:22 +0000 Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani handed out cheques to vari­ous charitable organisations from the funds raised by the Paradise Beverages Limited Sports, Social, Health & Wellbeing Club at Walu Bay, Suva on Friday.

Paradise Beverages general man­ager Mick Spencer said the club was not run by the company but by their employees in the group. .

“We do a lot with sports as you know rugby for about 42 to 43 years as we were the ones that started the sevens tournament in this country. “We do support netball, the Drua and this year we will assist some minor sports and also try to get to disabled sports as well.”

Spencer said the funds of $11,000 were raised by the club from a char­ity ball.

“I’m proud of the employees for getting together and organising something like this to help the country.”

Club president Joe Rodan Snr said the cheques were supposed to be handed out by the Fiji Airways Fiji­an 7s players who had to pull out in the last minute to attend a training session at the Sigatoka sand dunes.

“For us here that’s important for them to go out there because we’re crazy on sevens. We are the world champs. We want them to go to Las Vegas to beat the Australians. New Zealand and everybody else,” Rodan Snr said.

Instead, Lomani was brought in by the Fiji Rugby Union to hand out the cheques.

“The sports and social club is made-up of all the employees that contribute.”

A cheque of $2750 each along with giveaway packs were presented to representatives from the Fiji Can­cer Society, Homes of Hope, Father Law Home and Medical Services Pacific.

Rodan Snr, who is a former Pacific Games 400 metres hurdle cham­pion, said for this year the club is going to refurbish one of the wards at the Colonial War Memorial Hos­pital in Suva.

Edited by Osea Bola


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3 Red Cards, Blues Bow Out Of Champions League Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:18 +0000 Three red cards saw Lautoka FC played with 8-men as they bombed out of the OFC Champions League at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

Needing to win by two clear goals against Tahiti’s AS Central Sport to book a quarterfinal spot, all came to not when indiscipline crept into their game to the disappointment of their fans.

The clash ended in a 2-2 draw.

“We wanted to qualify, but unfor­tunately the two red cards in the first half let us down,” a disap­pointed Lautoka FC coach Kamal Swamy told SUNsports.

“Still with nine players we were applying pressure. At the end we had eight men, we had a draw. It’s a good result, but it would have been better if we would have won the game.”

Swamy said the focus now is on the Vodafone Premier League.

“We’ve to focus on the VPL and at the same time see where we had made mistakes and to improve on them,” he said.

“The national league competition is very competitive, so we have to prepare well.

“The player did their best and their families sacrificed a lot for them. Also the officials and the ex­ecutives did a lot as well.”

Swamy said despite all the criti­cisms against them they have to keep working hard to become a bet­ter side.

He added that it was hard to play with nine-men at this level of foot­ball in the first half and eight-men in the second half.

“Our defence was good, but it was because of some basic and individ­ual errors that let us down.

“I’m glad that some of the new boys played well and that is the way we move forward.”

Bong Kalo and Dave Radrigai were shown the red card in the first half while Afraz Ali received his march­ing order in the second half.

AS Central Sport striker Cesar Castillo scored the first goal in the 12th minute

Peter Babka of AS Central Sport scored an own goal in the 19th min­ute.

The hosts took the lead in the 39th minute through a Benjamin Totori strike. Manuarii Hauata slotted in the equaliser in the 60th minute.

Edited by Osea Bola


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Tailevu Club Comp Gaining Momentum Sat, 16 Feb 2019 22:00:06 +0000 Clubs wanting to play in the Tailevu Rugby Union competition will have to pay for their registra­tion fee of $1500 by tomorrow.

This was confirmed to SUNsports by TRU secretary Josefa Turaganivalu as their pre-season matches contin­ued at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori yesterday.

“This is the second of our pre-season competition and it’s a bonus for the clubs as they participate to prepare for the upcoming season,” he said.

“Right now, the purpose of holding these pre-season games is materialising and we’re now getting there. As of today, we’ve had a good turn­out of fans.”

Turaganivalu said when the club competition gets un­derway it’s back to playing 80 minutes rugby as they focus on preparing their teams (under-19 and major) for the Skipper Cup Premiership.

Tailevu Rugby have been known for producing top play­ers like Waisiki Masirewa, Inoke Male, Seremaia Bai, Meli Tamanitoakula, James Vuli, Henry Seniloli, Sunia Sevu, Jone Kaila, Apenisa Sassen, Lance Whippy, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, Epeli Ruivadra and so on.

Results: Cautata 5-0 Natakala, Qionimaravu 3-10, Nasausau, Nausori 10-5 Kasavu, Cadranasiga 10-27 Vunimono, Cautata 12-0 Kuku, Vunivaivai 5-3 Qionimaravu, Bau 7-8 Kasavu.

Edited by Osea Bola


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Mum, Brother Monitor Matila’s Diet Sat, 16 Feb 2019 21:30:09 +0000 Matila Vocea is on a strict diet as she aims to follow mother Vasiti Vugakoto’s footsteps to don the national netball jumper.

And her mother and brother are keeping a close watch on her diet.

Vocea is part of the Fijian Pearls 25 mem­ber squad preparing for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England on July 12-21.

“It’s just amazing having the opportunity to represent your country, being with these girls and having the team bonding is really good,” Vocea said.

Just like her mum, she plays in the shoot­ing circle and is also fighting a spot in the goal attacking area.

“My mum is my biggest motivator she’s been giving me all the tips I need, since this is my first time being in the Fiji Pearls squad.

She’s been giving me training and dieting tips that has got me where I am to­day.

“She reminds me to have a right attitude during training and my commitment to God and my personal goal,” Vocea said.

No dairy and sugar diet is on her list to get her body in shape building up to the World Cup.

“I’m having minimum carbs, more pro­tein to build up my muscle, no sugar and dairy.”

Her elder brother and former Belgium 7s player in the World Sevens Series Savenaca Vocea is also one of her personal coaches keeping an eye on her diet track.

“Save motivates me in everything I do, he’s keeping a close watch on my diet, building up my body muscles and strengthening my core areas of fitness.”

The 18-year old is currently a Bachelor of Science student majoring in computer sci­ence and chemistry at the University of the South Pacific.

Achievement for dad

One person Matila dedicated her achieve­ment to, was her late dad and former Fiji Ambassador to the European Union Peceli Vocea who died in Brussels in 2014.

“My dad taught me all the values which have got me where I am today.”

She plays for Lomaiviti club in the Suva Netball Association.

“My main aim now is to make it to the fi­nal 12.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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An Iconic Warrior: Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese’s Rugby World Sat, 16 Feb 2019 01:01:06 +0000 Rugby can mould people into better players, citizens, managers and help them live longer provided they look after themselves.

And you don’t have to be rich to see the world as rugby can take you places you can only dream of, meet­ing royalties as among the many once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Former national rep, captain, manager, coach and administrator, Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese, is a living tes­tament of someone who is still en­joying the spinoffs from the game.

His decorated rugby career start­ed in 1969 against Wales in Suva and ended in a historic win against British & Irish Lions at the same venue in 1977.

Last Friday, Tuisese was inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Fiji Rugby Union Awards Night.

As board chairman of the Fiji SUN, he was hosted to a tea party yesterday where he shared how rugby shaped his life and personal­ity.


Living Testament

“I’m a living testament that rugby can be more than just playing the game,”Tuisese said

“I played as a lock forward, in­volved in a lot of scrums, came across tight situations where a lot of quick decisions needed to be made.

“I can proudly say that rugby helped me in being bold with deci­sions later in life due to the hard grind we endured together in try­ing to works as a unit on the field over the years.

“Rugby instills that element of hardness that can help you enjoy and live life to the fullest provided you look after yourself.”

Tuisese said rugby gave him the chance to see more of the world.

“I’ve been to New Zealand, Aus­tralia, England, Wales Ireland, France, United States, Canada Ar­gentina and Hong Kong all because of rugby,” Tuisese said.

“I was fortunate in meeting up world dignitaries including the Queen at Buckingham Palace.”


Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese share about  his rugby experience with staff at the Fiji Sun headquarters in Suva.

Ratu Ilaitia Tuisese share about his rugby experience with staff at the Fiji Sun headquarters in Suva.


Sevens New Stars

He was the pioneer of the abbrevi­ated code being the captain, coach and manager of the Fiji team that played at the inaugural Hong Kong Sevens in 1976.

One year later, he became the first Fijian to lift the HK 7s title at So Kon Po.

He is a keen follower of the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team and is happy with new reps in the squad.

“Meli Derenalagi is a natural 7s forward, always on the hunt for the ball and good in defence,” he said

“Vilimoni Botitu is a natural rov­er and I’m also impressed with the running angles of wing Aminiasi Tuimaba.”


Missing South Africa

Tuisese says the only regret in his career was not being allowed to play in South Africa.

Together with Pio Bosco Tikoisu­va, they were invited to play for the World XV against the Springboks during the apartheid era.

Despite having travel documents ready, both were told to withdraw from the tour by the late Deputy Prime Minister Ratu Sir Penaia Ga­nilau due to the Gleneagles Agree­ment signed by the Commonwealth countries.

The 1977 Agreement compelled Commonwealth Presidents and Prime Ministers, as part of their support for the international cam­paign against apartheid, to have no contact and competition with South Africa.

“What could we have done. We had to follow protocol,” he said.

“Just imagine if we could have played in South Africa and the re­percussion it would bring to Fiji.

“You need to do what is right. But rugby has been good to me up to this day.”

Tuisese will be remembered as one of the legends of the game, having excelled both on and off the rugby field.

He’s also well regarded as a bea­con of inspiration for players today, a perfect example of why it is im­portant for them to plan their lives beyond their rugby careers.

His leadership qualities, soft-spo­ken but firm nature and quiet wit have earned him the nickname, ‘gentle giant.’

Tuisese’s opponents, though, will remember him differently.

They will remember him for his rugby brilliance and bone-crunch­ing tackles. They will remember him as one of Fiji’s most iconic rugby warriors.

Edited by Sheldon Chanel


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Degei Win RKS Interhouse Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:21:09 +0000 Degei secured a memo­rable win at the Ratu Kadavulevu School inter house athletics com­petition in Lodoni amass­ing 17 gold, 14 silvers and 17 bronze medals yesterday.

Cakau came second (15 gold, 11 silvers, 9 bronze), Ma’afu third (10 gold, 9 sil­vers, 11 bronze), Sukuna fourth (9 gold, 17 silvers ,14 bronze).

Degei House came into the final day in pole position to win the competition with 10 gold, 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals.

They finished winners af­ter strong performances in the track and field events,

The defending Coca-Cola Games champions now turn their attention to the Tailevu Zone scheduled for March 28 at the ANZ Stadi­um in Suva.

From there, the Lodoni-based school will look to mount a successful defence of the Coke Games boy’s ti­tle which they won after 21 years.

Edited by Osea Bola



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Netters Shape Up Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:02:12 +0000 Makelesi Bulikiobo is hap­py with the level of fitness in the 25 member squad preparing for the 2019 Netball World Cup in England on July 12-21.

The Fijian Pearls strength and conditioning coach was satisfied with the players’ punctuality to training and attitude compared to last year. The squad completed their general preparation phase and concluding their specific prep­aration phase.

“For strength and conditioning, we have plans in place. We have a higher turnout from the girls and that’s positive for us,” Bulikiobo said.

“We have another two weeks be­fore we come to our pre-compe­tition phase preparation and I’m grateful with the players’ attitude during training. They listen, fol­low instructions and our fitness level now is better to where we were at this time last year.”

The young players are bonding well with the senior reps and the return of experienced campaign­ers like Taraima Rara Mitchell, Maria Rusivakula and Matila Waqanidrola has boosted prepara­tion.

“The young girls are bonding in well with these experienced play­ers and are improving on their fit­ness level.”

Injury free

With the World Cup preparation started late November last year, Bulikiobo was impressed with the injury-free squad.

“It is a positive sign for us, when we don’t have injuries, now our key area is to improve on strength, speed and conditioning side since they will be playing against the gi­ants of the sport,” she said.

“During competition our main aim is to improve our ranking.”

Fijian Pearls are currently in 14th place in the world.

Edited by Osea Bola

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