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Butoni joins Nadro rugby

Jo Kunaluvea
Saturday, March 01, 2014

THE Butoni Hurricanes is the newest rugby club affiliated to the Nadroga Rugby Union this year.

The players from this club are all from Nakabuta Village which is situated about three kilometres inland on the west bank of the Sigatoka River.

Club president Pita Kadralevu said due to the increase in numbers of youths in the village, some former rugby players decided to form their own rugby club.

"This is to develop young people in the village and help them to take up rugby seriously since it is now a professional sport," said Kadralevu.

Youths of Nakabuta, Lawai, Naduri, Nakalavo and Qereqere used to play for the Nokonoko team and produced many Nadroga and Fijian rugby reps in yesteryears with Ifereimi Tawake the most notable name who became the captain and later coach of the Flying Fijians team.

Later with the increase in numbers of rugby players in the area of the vanua Tabanivono, Nakalavo, Qereqere and Naduri villages formed the Yalovata club while Lawai and Nakabuta named their new club Cagimaira.

Names like Maleli Kunavore, Mitieli Nacagilevu, Sailosi Rabo, Jonetani Ratu, Kiniviliame Salabogi emerged from these two clubs and went on to represent Nadroga and the Fiji team in both sevens and fifteens.

The late Kunavore and Salabogi each signed a contract to play rugby in France where they spent a number of years while Kunavore was one of the outstanding players in the famous Toulouse rugby club.

Kadralevu said that he had seen new talents from upcoming players in his village and it would be injustice not to assist them.

"By giving them a hand in developing their talents and encouraging them I wouldn't be surprised a number of these players would follow in the footsteps of Kunavore, Salabogi, Tawake, Nacagilevu and the likes," said the former Nadroga first five eight.

During last week's 10-a-side tournament at Lawaqa Park, they surprised many rugby pundits when they upset some more established clubs and ended reaching the cup semi-finals.

Next week the team will be taking part in the Fiji Bitter Marist 7's tournament and Kadralevu said with his new batch of rugby players, nothing was impossible.

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