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More big games

Arin Kumar
Saturday, August 09, 2014

THE Fiji National Rugby League is keen on playing more international matches in a bid to improve Fiji's ranking in the world.

In the latest ranking, the Vodafone Fiji Bati side has been ranked fifth in the world.

Yesterday, FNRL and their major sponsors Vodafone hosted a special celebration to mark the achievement.

FNRL chairman Reverend Immanuel Reuben said Fiji had improved and they wanted to continue with the progress.

"Before last year's Rugby League World Cup, Fiji was ranked eighth in the world and now after the world cup thanks to our semi-final finish, we are ranked fifth," he said.

"As semi-finalists, we should be ranked fourth but there are a number of factors including the less number of Test matches we play, which pushes us to fifth."

Vodafone Fiji Chief Marketing Officer Sanjeewa Perera said the sport had grown since they stepped up to sponsor it.

"This world ranking from eighth to fifth is fantastic and we have seen that in our six years of sponsorship, the sport of rugby league has grown," he said.

"Our investment was for the development of the sport and the development is evident in its progress.

"Also we have seen that Pacific Island countries want to play in Fiji and even the NRL has keen interest in Fiji."

Reuben said they hoped to appoint their new national coach by the end of next week to ensure they continued on their path to progress.

"Three candidates — former Fiji Bati Wise Kativerata, Englishman John Harbin and former Fiji Bati coach Shane Morris are shortlisted for the position.

"We need a coach that could stay in Fiji, watch the local competition, select his own players and train them properly and help us achieve our goal of improving our world ranking."

Meanwhile, in the Top 8 competition today, points table leaders KBL Saru Dragons take on Pack Leader Nabua Broncos at the Suva Grammar School grounds.

At the same venue, former champions Dee Cees Nadera Panthers play Topline Warriors and the Police Sharks will battle the Burenitu Cowboys.

In Nadi, defending champions Sigatoka Electric Sabeto Roosters host 2012 champions Fairtrade Makoi Bulldogs at the Saint Mary's School ground.

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