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RLWC journey starts

Moiz Munif
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

THE road to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup starts with the Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) Vodafone 9s tournament at Lawaqa Park this Saturday.

FNRL chief executive officer Timoci Naleba says the tournament and upcoming club competitions are vital to exposing local talents.

"The idea is to have more local players (in the Fiji Bati team). I'm going to say this, will keep on saying this; and this should help us ensure that we have more local players (in the team). No more of just saying, and then at the end of the four years (World Cup) having only two locals, one travelling and one non-travelling and the travelling player — no participation at all," Naleba said.

"So far we have not been getting enough exposure for the local players, especially getting our local boys represented or having the numbers in the Bati team increased. It is important right now that we do something about it."

Twenty-four clubs from Lautoka, Nadi, Nadroga, Navosa, Ra, Suva and Nausori will participate in the competition. Vodafone is the major sponsor for the meet and has allocated $10,000 for the event.

"We have made it an effort to ensure that we get the players', coaches' and stakeholders' support in moving towards the World Cup in 2021. A good base will result in a very good zone team and an excellent platform to select the resident team from which we will be able to train, develop and nurture the talents, skills and experience needed to fill the Fiji Bati team and that is why this 9s tournament is important," Naleba said.

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