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Fijians face-off

Kameli Rakoko
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A HOST of Super Rugby Fijians were in action again in the weekend and this week we welcome a new face in the competition.

Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo scored a try in his side's 34-8 win over Patrick Osborne's Highlanders to secure second spot and a direct entry for a semi-final spot while his younger brother Kirisi Kuridrani made his debut for the Reds.

In Brisbane, Taqele Naiyaravoro came in from the bench to face Reds' centre Samu Kerevi and winger Kirisi and set up a couple of tries for his teammates after big bulldozing runs.

Kuridrani is the cousin of Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani and brother of Nadolo.

Kirisi Nasiganiyavi was born in Brisbane, where his father Isei Nasiganiyavi played rugby for Queensland. He is the younger brother of Nemani Nadolo (formerly Ratu Nasiganiyavi before he adopted their mother's maiden name of Nadolo — from Nadi — in 2009).

During his junior career he was selected for several representative teams, including Queensland under-16s.

He attended Marsden State High School and Ipswich Grammar, and represented Queensland at the Australian Schools Rugby Championships in 2008 and 2009.

He is the cousin of Tevita Kuridrani and in 2011 he adopted the Kuridrani family name.

In 2010, he played colts rugby for GPS Old Boys and was chosen for the Brisbane U19 team later that year.

He was selected for the Fiji U20 team and played in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina, and scored a try against New Zealand in the opening pool game.

Chris briefly switched codes at the start of 2011. He played rugby league in the Toyota Cup for the Brisbane Broncos for five rounds before returning to play Premier Rugby with GPS and train with the Queensland Reds squad.

He was selected as an injury replacement for the Australia U20 team at the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship in Italy, and scored a try in the semi-final against New Zealand.

He was a member of the ARU's National Academy in 2013, and participated in the Pacific Rugby Cup, including playing one match for the Brisbane Academy against his brother, Nemani Nadolo, who played for Fiji Warriors

Meanwhile, Henry Speight scored a try for the ACT outfit as they gained fourth place on the ladder and a home qualifying final after the last round of the competition was completed over the weekend in South Africa.

While the Brumbies meet the defending champions from the Waikato Chiefs at Canberra Stadium, South Africa's conference winners, the Sharks, will host the Dunedin-based Highlanders in Durban on Sunday morning.

The Sharks scored a confidence-boosting 34-10 victory over the Stormers in the last match of the regular season in Cape Town but failed to earn a bonus point to overhaul the Kiwi conference-winning Crusaders on the table.

Winner of the Chiefs and Brumbies match will meet the Waratahs in an interesting semi-final at Sydney's Allianz Stadium on July 26.

In the Brumbies 47-25 win over the Western Force Tevita Kuridrani faced Force centre Solomoni Rasolea. There are now four Fijian centres in Super Rugby and the fourth is Sailosi Tagicakibau whose Stormers lost to Sharks in the weekend.

Asaeli Tikoirotuma helped his Chiefs side sneak into the play-offs thanks to a scrappy 11-8 win over the Blues in the wet in Auckland.

It looks like the Sharks are the team to beat in the competition and coach Jake White has shown again that he has the qualities of a great coach and is out to prove a point or two against the Aussies who overlooked him for the Wallabies coaching job while he was with Brumbies.

Teams he coaches are known for their gritty defence and intensity in all facets of the game and apart from the able leadership of Springboks hooker Bismark du Plessis they have a couple of speedsters and the big kicking boot of Francois Stein.

Meanwhile, Germany proved the champion of the world once again in soccer and rightly so because they did not have to resort to the lottery of penalty kicks to win their way through.

They have a great development program going on for decades and I witnessed this while in the then West Germany in 1981.

They were reigning champions at that time and children of kindergarten age were doing soccer skills training every afternoon in every city we visited of Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Berlin and Munich. It is their national game and their grassroots development was impressive.

The kids were learning soccer training drills that our national side here are taught at national training sessions.

That development has spilled over to the neighbouring countries Netherlands and Belgium, two teams that also did extremely well. Belgium lost in the quarter-finals while Netherlands won third place. In their early twenties the German players are already veterans.

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