Rugby League Plans Ahead

Schools fi­nals to be com­pleted if classes re­sume on June 15

Fiji Sun - - SPORT - SEREANA SALALO Edited by Leone Cabenatabu­a Feed­back: sereana.salalo@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Fiji Sec­ondary Schools Rugby League (FSSRL) quar­ter­fi­nals have been planned to kick-off on the first week of the new school term.

That is if Gov­ern­ment’s di­rec­tive for schools to re­sume classes on June 15 goes ahead.

Fiji Na­tional Rugby League (FNRL) act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Don Natabe told SUN sports yes­ter­day that this would give am­ple time to play­ers who wished to play for the Deans Tro­phy com­pe­ti­tion. How­ever, the re­sump­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion would be en­tirely on Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vi­sory on sports re­stric­tions.

“The sec­ondary schools board has in­di­cated that they are keen to pro­ceed right to the fi­nals in the first three weeks of the new term,” he said.

“That is in the first three weeks be­fore play­ers can go over to play in the Deans com­pe­ti­tion. But all of this will de­pend on what the gov­ern­ment has to say about the re­stric­tions,” Natabe added.

The com­pe­ti­tion was sus­pended af­ter the zone fi­nals as Fiji con­firmed its first case of coro­n­avirus, sus­pend­ing all sport­ing tour­na­ments.

The schools com­pe­ti­tion had been the breed­ing ground of top Fi­jian play­ers like Vil­iame Kikau, Tui Kamikam­ica, Suliasi Vunivalu, Marika Koroi­bete, Taqele Nai­yar­a­voro, Eroni Sau,Vir­imi Vakatawa, Seta Ta­mani­valu, Amini­asi Tuimaba and the list goes on.

SPON­SOR­SHIP

FNRL’s spon­sor­ship agree­ment with Voda­fone is still in­tact, says Natabe.

De­spite the sus­pen­sion of the Voda­fone Cup com­pe­ti­tion, they had signed to be spon­sors un­til 2022.

“The sce­nar­ios we look­ing at are be­ing able to con­vene or able to hold a match. We’re hop­ing to re­sume as sched­uled.

“We are also look­ing at pos­si­ble pro­pos­als to be put so that gov­ern­ment can be con­fi­dent in al­low­ing con­tact sport such as rugby league to go ahead,” he added.

The com­pe­ti­tion is a cru­cial part of FNRL as they build-up to­wards the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

It will help the coach­ing staff in the se­lec­tion of the lo­cal play­ers to the Fi­jian Res­i­dents squad and then to the Fi­jian Bati team.

“We know com­pe­ti­tions are im­por­tant in pro­vid­ing the plat­form to let play­ers con­tinue to play where we eval­u­ate them, know­ing that the World Cup is hap­pen­ing next year,” Natabe said.

“That’s why the com­pe­ti­tion is im­por­tant, it is a plat­form for us to se­lect lo­cal play­ers and mon­i­tor them.”

RON MASSEY CUP

Since the Ron Massey Cup com­pe­ti­tion has been sus­pended, the Kaiv­iti Silk­tails will con­tinue with their elite de­vel­op­ment play­ers plan.

Natabe said, “We’re not only look­ing at the Ron Massey Cup in pick­ing up the play­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We are also build­ing up tal­ents for the fu­ture, for what we can pro­vide in the long term.

“That is why we are go­ing to come down and look at tal­ents dur­ing this fi­nal sea­son of the sec­ondary schools and scout some play­ers for their High Per­for­mance Unit pro­gramme,” he added.

All th­ese com­pe­ti­tions are await­ing Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment on lift­ing the re­stric­tions for sport­ing events and com­pe­ti­tions.

Photo:

Voda­fone Fi­jian Bati and Mel­bourne Storm play­ers Suliasi Vunivalu (left) and Tui Kamikam­ica. They are two of the many top rugby league play­ers that played in the Fiji Se­conadry Schools Rugby League com­pe­ti­tion. Mel­bourne Storm

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