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Fiji Time: 5:36 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Raitini makes switch

Emoni Narawa
Saturday, December 22, 2012

ALIPATE Raitini is the latest Fiji Rugby Union player to make a switch to rival code, rugby league.

Times Sports understands that Raitini, who starred at the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in the Gold Coast last October, has joined National Rugby League (NRL) club Cronulla Sharks.

His cousin and Wests Tigers new-find Marika Koroibete confirmed Raitini is in Australia.

Raitini jetted out of the country last Saturday with Penrith Panthers player Sakeo Railoa and was greeted by newly-signed Parammatta Eels players Semi Radradra and Tui Kamikamica.

"Yes, he is in Australia now, he has joined the training with the Sharks club. He will be coming to see me tonight (last night)," Koroibete said from Australia last night.

Raitini was initially recalled into the Digicel Fiji 7s team for the Wellington and Las Vegas tournaments.

He missed the Dubai and George legs after being ruled out with a hamstring injury.

National sevens coach Alifereti Dere will need to find a suitable replacement for the youngster.

Raitini was among several players that helped Fiji win the Gold Coast 7s and was recalled to attend the fitness test next week.

Fiji National Rugby League development manager Sale Tubuna told Times Sport that Raitini is in Australia now.

Tubuna said Raloa called him on Thursday night and informed him of the news.

"He (Raitini) flew out to Australia with Sakeo last Saturday. He told Sakeo that he was joining the Sharks. Sakeo called me last night (Thursday night) and was telling me about his trip with Raitini," Tubuna said.

However, FRU officials were left in the dark about the news. When Times Sport contacted some FRU officials, they all said they knew nothing about the move.

Raitini scored six tries on his debut in the Gold Coast.