Bati players arrive home

THE Vodafone Fiji Bati players were treated to a low key welcome upon their arrival from the Rugby League World Cup at Nadi International Airport last night.

The Bati reached their third consecutive semi-final after upsetting giants New Zealand 4-2 in the quarter-final.

Fiji went down 56-6 to defending champions Australia in the semi-final.

About 200 fans greeted the players after many were unaware of the team’s arrival to celebrate its achievements in the country this weekend.

However those present at the airport mobbed the players requesting for autographs and selfies.

Eight of the 24-member squad will not be part of the celebrations including star Jarryd Hayne.

The others who will miss out are Apisai Koroisau (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Ben Nakubuwai (Gold Coast Titans/ Tweed Heads Seagulls), Junior Roqica (London Broncos), Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), Ashton Sims (Warrington Wolves) and Brayden Wiliame (Catalans Dragons).

Fiji Bati skipper Kevin Naiqama said it was good to be home and was looking forward to the celebrations.

“The boys love Fiji,” he said.

“It is good that we have come back to thank everyone. It was a good campaign at the world cup but disappointed with how it ended. I don’t think the scoreline reflected on ow hard the boys worked in the game against Australia.”

Officials Petero Civoniceva, Wes Naiqama and Mick Reid accompanied the boys from Sydney, Australia.

The team was hosted to dinner by The Rhum-ba at Port Denarau and was accommodated at the Tokatoka Resort.

The side will depart for Suva this morning via Queens Rd stopping at the various villages along the way to greet the fans.

Their morning tea will be hosted by Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji.

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