Dire Need To Beef Up Our U20 Comp
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
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