Many players named in the Suva squad to prepare for the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy challenge this month will appear for their clubs in the Fiji Bitter Escott Shield semi-finals this weekend. Escott Shield holders Navy plays Raiwaqa in one semi-final while Police will face Army in the other match. Some players who are likely to feature for their respective clubs are Sireli Temo, Samu Newa, Samu Bola and Apenisa Nasilasila for Police, Josaia Colati and Apisai Vatubuli for Raiwaqa, Manasa Saulo, Vesi Rarawa, Josefa Levula, Mosese Saunivanua, Ilitomasi Nawalu, Savenaca Tabakanalagi, Waqabaca Kotobalavu, Aporosa Kenatale, Kaminieli Neiqisa, Emosi Mulevoro, Benedito Koroi, Josaia Lotawa, Epeli Ruivadra, Maikeli Mocetadra and Vilitati Sokiveta for Navy while former national sevens forward Napolioni Naulia will be the key man for his Army team.
Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott KCMG, the British colonial administrator and governor who was in turn Governor of Fiji, instituted the Escott Shield as a rugby trophy in 1913, which was first won by the Pacific Club. The trophy was contested by clubs formed by expatriates working in Suva at that time. Navy is the current holder of the Escott Shield which is the oldest rugby trophy in the country.
36 years later
Navy managed to lay its hands on the coveted Escott Shield after 36 years when they defeated Army in the final last year. Navy won the title after beating the defending champions Army Green in the final 39-24. The sailors scored five tries to two to lift the coveted shield. It was sweet victory for Navy after it turned the tables on Army Green which beat them in the final the previous year. Army Green is not playing in the Suva rugby competition this year and has moved to the Tailevu Rugby Union.