Baptism of fire for U20 players

Joining Josh Bartlett (New Zealand) , Semi Qica (Fiji),Titi Nofoagatoto’a (Australia) and Mateo Albenese (Argentina) at the popular tourist destination were 2 members of the four hundred strong patrol group of the Molloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club (MSLS) Max and Rylee Jones and members of the under 9 Nippers program Flossie Smith and Chloe McIvor. The MSLS is celebrating 100 years of community service to the Sunshine Coast community at Moolooaba. Picture: credit Josh Woning, of J&A Photography, for Oceania Rugby)

The Junior Flying Fijians team faces a baptism of fire as they take on the highly ranked New Zealand side at the Oceania Under-20 Rugby Championship on the Sunshine Coast in Australia tomorrow.

The national team left on Monday and according to head coach Ifereimi Rawaqa, the boys were excited for their first match.

Rawaqa said the team consisted of players participating in the development and senior level of the Skipper Cup, and five overseas-based players from France, Australia and New Zealand.

“These players have progressed well and are ready to take on New Zealand, Australia and Argentina at the Oceania Championship,” the former Flying Fijians lock forward said. He said the competition would give an opportunity for the team to monitor their standard against world-class opponents.

“I think the important thing for us is to play against top level opponents and set a standard so that the players understand the level required to match when facing overseas teams.

“This will assist these players when they graduate to the national level in the future.”

In Fiji’s other matches, the side takes on Australia on July 5 and will go up against Argentina on July 10. The team is captained by Semi Qica.

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