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Three join Fiji Bati for Tonga clash

Zanzeer Singh
Friday, April 25, 2014

LOCAL players will get a chance to represent the Fiji Bati against the touring Tonga Residents team in June.

Only three local players have been named in the Vodafone Fiji Bati to play Toa Samoa in the Four Nations qualifier in Australia next Saturday.

They are Tikiko Noke, Atunaisa Turagaiviu and Osea Sadrau.

Lately the local players have failed to make the Fiji Bati squad which has been dominated by the players representing the various clubs in the National Rugby League competition in Australia.

Noke and Ilisavani Jegesa were the two local players who were part of the Fiji Bati World Cup squad last year.

Fiji Bati assistant coach Jo Rabele said head coach Rick Stone had highlighted the need to assemble the best players for the important match against Samoa.

Rebele said the local players would get a chance to represent Fiji Bati.

"We will finalise our training program which has been set out by our strength and conditioning trainer Mick Reid," he said.

"The camp will start on Sunday. Lote Tuqiri's inclusion is a big boost and he will be an inspiration for the younger ones like what Petero (Civoniceva) did at the World Cup.

"The chances are there for the local players to get a spot in the national team. But this is a very important game for us and the coach wants the best players as it serves as qualification for the Four Nations."

The winner of the match will play Australia, New Zealand and England in the Four Nations in November.

Rabele said they had named a strong squad.

"We expect Samoa to be tough so the Four Nations is the target for us right now," he said.

"In June the Tongan Residents will tour Fiji so this will be the chance for our local-based players to showcase their talents ahead of the Battle of the Bati in October which will serve as the warm up for the Four Nations."

Fiji Bati defeated Samoa 22-4 in the World Cup quarter-finals last year.

2014 Four Nations Schedule: October 25: Australia-New Zealand, England-Pacific Team (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane); November 1: New Zealand-Pacific Team (Toll Stadium, Whangarei); November 2: Australia-England (AAMI Park, Melbourne); November 8: New Zealand-England (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin); November 9: Australia-Pacific Team (WIN Stadium, Wollongong); November 15: Final (Westpac Stadium, Wellington).

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