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Ratini chases dream

Emoni Narawa
Friday, May 23, 2014

SPEED merchant Alipate Ratini still has to fulfil his childhood dream — be a Flying Fijian.

The Namosi lad who mesmerised the sevens arena during the 2012 HSBC Sevens World Series Gold Coast tournament is eager to represent Fiji in the full code.

His ultimate goal is a spot at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. However, the French-based flyer is interested in helping the Vodafone Flying Fijians beat Cook Islands in the RWC qualifying match next month.

And despite, not being drafted into the 39-member squad named by head coach John McKee earlier this month, the Grenoble rugby winger still believes he still can offer his services to his country if given the golden opportunity.

He said he was waiting for the people at the Fiji Rugby Union to contact him and inquire about his availability.

"I'm always available to play for my country," Ratini said.

"If given a chance, I'll be more than happy to play for Fiji.

"It's always a proud moment to represent Fiji and I will grab the opportunity with both hands if someone contacts me and asks me to join the Flying Fijians."

Other wingers such as Adriu Delai, Nemani Nadolo, Vereniki Goneva, Napolioni Nalaga, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Waisea Nayacalevu, Sireli Bobo, Metuisela Talebula, Timoci Nagusa, Watisoni Votu and IRB Sevens Player of the Year Samisoni Viriviri were included in the 39-member squad.

Ratini said he still wanted to pursue his goal of being a Flying Fijian.

"If I'm not required now, I believe there will always be opportunities in the future. But my goal is to represent Fiji at the World Cup.

"For the time being, I'm enjoying the experience of playing against the top players from around the world in the French Top 14 competition."

Ratini made his break into the national scene when former Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male scouted him playing at a local tournament on Vanua Levu. Raitini joined the Vatukoula rugby team before joining the Fiji under-20 and Warriors teams.

He later showcased his full potential in the national sevens team.

Ratini wished the Flying Fijians a good outing during the June Test matches.

Meanwhile, McKee will name his final 30-member squad in Suva this afternoon.





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