Rugby League Plans Ahead
Schools finals to be completed if classes resume on June 15
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.
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.
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