Dire Need To Beef Up Our U20 Comp

Fiji Sun - - Comment - NE­MANI DE­LAIBATIKI Feed­back: ne­mani.de­laibatiki@fi­jisun.com.fj

It was not what we ex­pected and the plan sim­ply didn’t work out in the end. The Voda­fone Fi­jian Un­der-20’s de­mo­tion from the World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship showed that more ef­fort and proper plan­ning need to be im­ple­mented at Rugby House.

It’s get­ting to be a case of waste­ful ex­er­cise sim­ply for the fact that this was not the first time that we could not sur­vive or win the sec­ond tier com­pe­ti­tion, the World Ju­nior Tro­phy. This was af­ter so much ef­fort, time and lo­gis­tics were put into prepa­ra­tion. World Rugby or­gan­ised the com­pe­ti­tion as a launch­ing pad for play­ers pre­par­ing for na­tional du­ties. The in­au­gu­ral tour­na­ment was held in June 2008 and statis­tics re­vealed the em­pha­sis and de­vel­op­ment we put into our U20 over the years. This was how we fared be­fore the tour­na­ment was re­duced to 12 teams in 2010 for fi­nan­cial rea­son by World Rugby.

2008-14th; 2009 -12th

2010-8th 2011-6th

2012 -11th

2013 -11th

In 2014, we ended up in 12th place in New Zealand and to­day we will play for the third/fourth play­off against Namibia at the Harare Sports Club in Zim­babwe.

The Sal­imoni Ravou­vou-coached side failed to reach the fi­nal fol­low­ing the 8-32 loss to Samoa. Samoa and tour­na­ment debu­tants Spain will play in the fi­nal of the World Rugby U20 Tro­phy 2016 and the win­ner will qual­ify for the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship in 2017. This means our U20s will miss out and will need to play and win the World Rugby U20 Tro­phy next year to qual­ify for the World Rugby U20 Cham­pi­onship 2018.

While we ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort put in by the coach­ing staff, there is a dire need to beef up and mon­i­tor U20 com­pe­ti­tion.

Per­haps the in­clu­sion of the Un­der-18, U19 in the Skip­per Cup com­pe­ti­tion will help in the long run.

Draft­ing stu­dents from schools to com­pete in the World Rugby sanc­tioned tour­na­ment is not work­ing for us as we move for­ward. Our play­ers need to be in­volved in tough com­pe­ti­tion to be com­pet­i­tive on the world stage.

Four match ban for Rabukawaqa

Fiji prop Ratu Alif­er­eti Rabukawaqa was cited for an act of foul play con­trary to Law 10.4(j) (danger­ous lift­ing tackle) in the match against Uruguay He ac­cepted that he had com­mit­ted the act of foul play. The ju­di­cial of­fi­cer de­ter­mined that the foul play was low-end of­fend­ing which car­ries an en­try point of four weeks.

He was sus­pended for Fiji’s re­main­ing three matches at the World Rugby U20 Tro­phy and his first club match in Fiji. This just shows that there is a lot of work to be done on the lo­cal front for our U20 to be com­pet­i­tive on the world stage.

While we ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort put in by the coach­ing staff, there is a dire need to beef up and mon­i­tor U20 com­pe­ti­tion

The Voda­fone Fi­jian Un­der-20 team

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