Best on offer: Cooper, Veitokani to light up NRC clash

Serupepeli Vularika of Fiji Airways Drua attacks against Melbourne Rising during their clash at Ratu Cakobau Park. Fiji Airways Drua won 40-17. Picture: RAMA/FILE

THE much anticipated NRC encounter match between the Fiji Airways Drua and the Brisbane City will showcase two of the best playmakers in the oval ball game.

The visitors will be boosted by the services of former Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper, who will mark Fiji’s mercurial and upcoming playmaker in Alivereti Veitokani. Cooper, who has produced some magical moves with the Wallabies in the past years, will have a few tricks up his sleeves to convince the Wallabies selectors.

He has dropped in performance in recent years which eliminated him from winning a spot in the Wallabies and will be challenged by the nippy Fijian playmaker who was in scintillating form against the Melbourne Rising last weekend.

Veitokani, who made his international scene for Fiji in the abbreviated code, was one of the standout performers in this year’s Skipper Cup competition which enabled him to secure a spot in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians team for the June Test series.

Drua head coach Senirusi Seruvakula said Veitokani had gained confidence in the 15s code and had been improving since the Skipper Cup competition.

He said the Tailevu native was expected to be at his best this weekend where he would combine with Frank Lomani in the halves combination.

“Veitokani has continued from where he left off in the Skipper Cup and continues to gain confidence,” said Seruvakula.

“He can play at full-back and also at 10 and hope he can build on from where he left off last weekend.”

Veitokani’s best moment in the game was when he broke the Melbourne Rising first line of defence and later sidestepped the full-back before off-loading the ball to Lomani after a defender closed up on him.

Veitokani later received the pass from Lomani and scored a magnificent try to help his team win.

And as for the plot to counter Cooper, Seruvakula said their focus was to concentrate on their team.

“We just need everything right rather than concentrating on individual players such as Quade Cooper.”

“We first need to concentrate on ourselves in doing everything right — like passing the advantage line at all times and be patient when we have the ball.” The game will be held at Lautoka’s Churchill Park at 3pm tomorrow.

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