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Final battle

Emoni Narawa
Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE Naitasiri rugby camp has dubbed this afternoon's mouth-watering clash as the "game to watch".

The Highlanders play defending champions Nadroga in the Skipper Cup final at the Stallions' rugby home at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka after a lapse of two years.

With a new coaching panel at the helm, Naitasiri is itching to win its first provincial cup since Reverend Joji Rinakama guided the side to victory a few years back.

Stand-in coach Samu Domoni has made wholesome changes from his line-up that played Nadi in last week's semi-final.

In the forwards, Necani Nawaqadau replaces Vatilai Matakaca at blindside flanker, Jonetani Qio shifts to inside centre, taking the place of Nasolo Young Boys sevens player Aporosa Rasavulu, to pair Vilikesa Qio in the midfield and Maika Ligaqaqa reclaiming his fullback's position from Esava Delai. Rasavulu was a standout performer last week against the Jetsetters.

Naitasiri's assistant manager Atu Kuruibou urged the public to flock in numbers to witness rugby at its best.

"This is a game for Fiji to watch because two champion teams will be playing in the final," he said.

"Our approach to this game is different from other preparations. This is the final and we're taking a very serious approach towards it."

Naitasiri will rely on the huge boot of Nadroga man Kolinio Vunaki to spearhead their campaign. Vunaki's accurate goalkicking boot has been a match winner for the Highlanders in the past.

Meanwhile, Nadroga has decided to shift policeman Ratu Meli Kurisaru to playmaker pushing the experience of Jiuta Lutumailagi to the bench.

Former sevens rep Mitieli Nacagilevu starts at fullback after impressing off the bench in the semi-final victory over Suva, a fortnight ago.

The match kicks off at 3pm.

Nadroga (1-15)

Peni Ravai, Ratu Seru Cakobau, Setefano Samoca, Rupeni Nahiga, Manoa Tamaya, Epeli Natuikata, Sailosi Rabo, Ulaiasi Lawavou, Samu Laqai, Ratu Meli Kurisau, Samu Cava, Eroni Vasiteri, Savenaca Rawaca, Aporosa Tabulawaki (2), Mitieli Nacagilevu

Naitasiri (1-15)

Mesake Doge, Dan Ligairi, Mosese Ducivaki, Sanivalati Vunibola, Seresio Vereivalu, Necani Nawaqadau, Filimoni Seru, Avenisa Natabua, Kini Douglas, Kolinio Vunaki, Nasoni Roko, Jonetani Veitau, Vilikesa Qio, Ilisoni Tavaiqia, Maika Ligaqaqa

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