Global Rapid Rugby’s Pacific Showcase gets off to a flyer on Saturday, 18 May when the Swire Shipping Fijian Latui take on Kagifa Samoa at Churchill Park. Both sides have a mix of exciting young talent alongside international experience, ensuring the first Rapid Rugby match to be played in the Pacific will be full of high adrenaline action.
Veteran forward Mosese Voka will Captain Fijian Latui and will be joined by fellow national team representatives Eroni Mawi and Mesulame Dolokoto in an impressive forward pack.
The back-line -line too has a menacing look about it with Apisalome Waqatabu, Apete Daveta, John Stewart and Lepani Raiyala leading the way.
Head Coach Senirusi Seruvakula said competition for spots had been fierce and is confident his side can turn that competition into a strong performance in front of what is expected to be a big home crowd.
“The players are healthy and have been responding well in the training especially after three rounds of the Skipper Cup,” Seruvakula said.
“Last week we went through the rules of the game with one of the referees. We are getting to understand the game but we are going to be tested when we play against Kagifa Samoa,” he added.
Seruvakula knows it won’t be easy against a Kagifa Samoa team that has eight players with national team honours to their name.
The forward battle will be intriguing with Samoan International prop Misioka Timoteio leading the way for the visitors, joined by Samoa A loose forward Callum Adams and Samoa U20 young gun Caleb Faaili who will start in the number seven jersey.
The Kagifa Samoa side also draws from other powerful Pacific nations with Tongan stars Leon Fukofuka and Latiume Fosita leading the attacking charge as the starting halves pairing. They are joined in the backs by fellow Tongan international Paki Afu, while former Melbourne Rebels young-gun Ah Mu Tuimalealiifano will start on the wing.
While Fiji is no stranger to rugby in all formats, even the locals have been amazed at the amount of activity and investment that Rapid Rugby has undertaken to make good on its promise of bringing together the best of sport and entertainment.
More than 120m of sideline LED has been shipped to Fiji and will remain on the island for Fiji Rugby to utilise across the winter international and domestic finals season. Other items brought to Churchill Park include a monster big screen and giant inflatables, while the stadium precinct will be elevated with on-field fan competitions, kids activities, food, bars and more as part of the overall spectacle.
Fiji party favourites the Inside Out band and DJ Christonite, plus the award winning AUE Dance crew and Natabua Cheer Squad will provide additional colour and atmosphere.
Saturday will be a full day of rugby action with the Yasawa v Vatukoula U19’s meeting at 10.30am (local) followed by a Vodafone Vanua Championship clash between Yasawa and Vatukoula senior teams at 12.15pm (local).
Where: Churchill Park, Lautoka Fiji
Date: Saturday, 18 May 2019
Kick-off: 15:10 local (11:10 AWST/SGT/HKT, 13:10 AEST)
Broadcast: the game will be broadcast live, for information on where the match will be telecast in each region, click here.
Starting XV: 1.Eroni MAWI, 2.Mesulame DOLOKOTO, 3.Luke TAGI, 4.Peni NAULAGO, 5.Necani NAWAQADAU, 6.Mosese VOKA(C), 7.Vasikali MUDU, 8.Timoci DAVU, 9.Jone MANU, 10.Tuidraki SAMUSAMUVODRE, 11.Lepani RAIYALA, 12.Avete DAVETA, 13.John STEWART, 14.Tira PATTERSON WILAGI, 15.Apisalome WAQATABU
Reserves: 16.Veremalua VUGAKOTO, 17.Joeli VEITAYAKI, 18.Apisai VATUBULI, 19.Filimoni SERU, 20.Johnny DYER, 21.Netava KOROISAU, 22.Enele TIKOTANI MALELE, 23.Ifereimi TOVILEVU
Starting XV: 1.Misioka TIMOTEIO, 2.Frank MALU, 3.Ausetalia VAIOMANU, 4.Michael MCKEE, 5.Matiaha MARTIN, 6.Callum ADAMS, 7.Caleb FAALILI, 8.Fotu LOKOTUI, 9.Leon FUKOFUKA(C), 10.Latiume FOSITA, 11.David FELIUAI, 12.Paki AFU, 13.Augustine MAFOE, 14.Ah Mu TUIMALEALIIFANO, 15.Kalione HALA
Reserves: 25.Peter FAALILI, 24.Sevanaia ROKOTUINACEVA, 22.Taniela KOROI, 21.Dylan LAM, 20.Laisenia RAURA, 17.Siaosi NGININGINI, 18.Maui HAUSIA, 16.Jope TIKOILEPANONI
Referee: Cameron Stone, AR1: Kaveni Talemaivalagi, AR2: David Vosalevu, TMO: Johnson Lee