Uate wants more local players in RLWC team

Fijian born NRL Star Akuila Uate with kids of Votua Village. Picture: JAKE CABANIUK

MANLY Sea Eagles winger and Fiji Bati try scoring machine Akuila Uate wants more local players to be included in the Fiji Bati side for the next Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

Uate arrived in the country on Wednesday to visit his families in Votua Village in Nadroga and bid them farewell before he departs for Australia tomorrow and join his new club Huddersfield Giants in the Super League competition at the beginning of next year.

The 30-year old NRL star said he wanted the Fiji National Rugby League to develop more local players for international competition.

“I have represented Fiji three times in the RLWC and I would love to see a fair chance of local rugby league players going to battle with the NRL players representing Fiji at the upcoming world cup,” Uate said.

“We can’t go back to the past because that is history but what we can improve on is to focus on the local players in improving their skills in local competitions within three years before the upcoming world cup.

The Nadroga lad made his debut for the Fiji Bati in 2008 and has been in the Bati world cup team since.

“When I started in 2008, 12 members of the team to the world cup were local players and nine were overseas-based and we still managed to reach the semi-finals,” he said.

Meanwhile Uate has also urged the FNRL board to support Petero Civoniceva’s New South Wales Cup bid.

Uate came alone to visit his relatives in the village to enjoy his time before he departs for a new contract bound for him next year.

He will be leaving the country today.

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