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Top rugby reps get together

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

WHERE in the world would Trevor Leota, Bruce Rauqe, Laisenia Kato, Eparama Navale, Randwick rep Netava Tagi and former Fiji Bati Apisalome Degei be playing on the same field together at?

Hard to believe but the players plus a host of other former household Fiji rugby names turned up to play in the finals of the Fiji Day rugby competition at Granville Park in Western Sydney on Saturday evening.

Kato, the former national sevens rugby rep and Saunaka rugby player led his Duavata side to a 25-10 win against defending champions Manly.

With the bustling former Manu Samoa hooker Trevor Leota and his brothers Jese and Junior in the Duavata side it would be difficult times for the defending champions.

Duavata was only formed eight weeks ago by Fiji born Australian citizen Iliaseri Ravetali and fullback Male Ratubalavu. But with the likes of Kato, Leota and Dratabu man Degei the battle in the forwards was going to be fierce.

From kick off Degei stood off from outside the rucks to make some bustling forays into Manly's half.

Leota's experience rubbed off on the younger players in the set pieces, mauls and rucks.

He opened Duavata's account with a bustling run from a lineout move to the joy of Duavata fans.

His second try came from a driving maul in the second half from a set piece. The third try was scored by Kato as Duavata tried to keep Manly out of the game.

Rams player Jese Leota at centre picked up the man of the match trophy for his slicing runs into his opposition.

Manly on the other hand were not to be outdone. With former national and Wallaby seven a side rep Bruce Rauqe, former Kuku sevens star Moape Ravuvu at halfback, former Nadi rep Ilaisa Saukuru and the Rock Eparama Wakaniyaro, former schoolboy sensation Seru Rogo a bruising battle ensued as the defending champions were not going to give up without a fight.

In 2003, Tagi played for Fiji in the Pacific Rim against Leota and the Samoans but yesterday the two turned up in the same tri colours (red white and blue). Leota actually made life a bit easier for Tagi with some accurate throws and the tale of the tape was possession and winning set pieces.

Kato accepted the Bavadra Fijian Multiracial Association trophy ending Manly's two year hold on it. The Duavata Nadi youth side scooped the Reverend Peter Davies trophy wearing the Nadi dark blue colours with the name of the champion Fiji provincial side printed on the back.

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