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Fiji Time: 11:16 AM on Saturday 19 April

/ Front page / Sport

Locals shine in East-West clash

Arin Kumar
Thursday, May 17, 2012

TWO New Zealand-based players spoke highly of local players after the East versus West Flying Fijians trial match at Buckhurst Park in Suva yesterday.

Half-back, Nemia Kenatale who plies his trade with the Highlanders Warriors in Otago said the local players had lifted their performance from where he left Fiji.

Kenatale played for East team that went down to West by 27-14 and said locals deserved a shot at the white jumper.

"I left Fiji only a few months ago but I have seen big improvement in the game of the local-based players.

"I think the wet and muddy park made it difficult to play but the local boys played better in these conditions.

"I think many of them (locals) might be named in the Fiji side," he said.

Kenatale returns to New Zealand on Sunday but he said he was available for Fiji if needed.

"My game has improved with the training in Otago and I have been allowed to go back for national team duties if needed," he said.

First time trialists, Niko Raumaitavuki said the locals were more determined and gave their best shot on the field.

The 22-year old has paternal links as his father is a Fijian (Ratu Vula Maitavuki) and he says he has set his sights on the Fijian jumper but getting a chance to wear it will be difficult.

"The locals gave me tough time on the field, they played really well and it helped me identify my weaknesses," Raumaitavuki said.

"I have been playing my rugby in North Harbour in the Massey club and I still need to do a lot more work to don the Fiji jersey.

Raumaitavuki played at first-five and inside centre and said he would commit himself to Fiji.

"I have not received any offers from anywhere else but I will give Fiji my priority.

Other overseas-based players who were impressive in the match yesterday included, Alusio Buto, Graham Dewes, Tuapati Talemaitoga, and Ropate Ratu.

Local players who stood out included former national 7s reps Leone Nakarawa, Watisoni Votu, Nikola Matawalu,brothers Kelemedi and Samu Bola and Suva-based winger Maikeli Mocetadra.