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Bati pencil in new Newcastle pace ace Uate

INDRA SINGH
Friday, August 01, 2008

ONLY 17 local players will be short-listed for the final trials for the Vodafone Fiji Bati in their bid for the Rugby League World Cup in Australia in October.

The final trials for the Fiji Bati will be held in late September.

Thirty overseas players will be shortlisted for the trials.

Nine overseas-based players have already passed the criteria to be part of the final 23-member squad for the Fiji Bati RLWC team. Bradford Bulls winger Semi Tadulala heads the list of players already confirmed to don the Fiji Bati jumper.

Tadulala is the lone player from the Super League competition played in the United Kingdom.

The rest come from the National Rugby League (NRL) competition in Australia.

They include Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights), Waisale Naiqama (Newcastle Knights), Jason Bukuya (Cronulla Sharks), Ashton Sims (Brisbane Broncos), Ratu Peni Tagive (West Tigers), John Sutton (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Darryl Millard (Canterbury Bulldogs) and Aaron Groom (Canterbury Bulldogs).

FNRL chairman Peni Musunamasi said these the overseas-based players had passed the final selection criteria due to the high status of the competition they were playing in.

He said these players had confirmed their availability.

"The final trials will either be held on September 28 or September 29," Musunamasi said. "There are many other players interested to don the Fiji Bati jumper from overseas.

"Some of them are taking part in the Under-20 Toyota Cup competition in Australia.

"Others are taking part in the Country League competition."

Musunamasi said Fiji would field a strong team at the RLWC.

He said Australia-based Max Ninness would help Jo Rabele mould the best combination. Fiji plays France on November 1.





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