Editorial comment – Great youngsters, great rugby

Under 15 RKS halfback Kaminieli Lutumailagi makes a pass against Suva Grammar School during their Fiji Secondary Schools Powerade Super Deans Rugby Championship quarter finals match. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

ALL eyes are now focused on how defending champions of the Deans Trophy rugby competition, Ratu Kadavulevu School will fare this weekend. The Tailevu school heads into the semi-finals as the team to beat.
RKS U18 manager Osea Uluiviti said the semi-finals would be different after their quarter-final win over Nasinu last weekend.
He played the mind game this week, insisting his team will not be heading into this weekend’s clash as defending champion.
“We are not the U18 champion since last year’s players are in the U19 team,” he said.
Hundreds of youngsters will converge in Suva for the semi-finals of the annual competition.
That’s when the top teams from around the country in all grades starting from the U14s will battle it out for top honours and the right to enter the finals.
This weekend will be about living their dreams.
Months of training will culminate in the biggest game of their lives.
The competition has grown over the years and many of its products have moved on to higher platforms of the sport, some earning thousands of dollars playing in well established competitions abroad.
The Deans competition holds many memories for many people.
It inches out the best in schoolboy ruggers and leaves a lasting impression on thousands of people who have been fortunate enough to watch competitive games.
It provides a platform for youngsters to test their skills against their peers, emulate their favourite stars, and for many, it is an opportunity to chart a possible career path.
The advent of the digital age, readily available videos of games, advanced training techniques and tactics, on top of live television feeds of top matches around the world have allowed youngsters to learn, understand and appreciate the game more.
Teams are able to keep a tab on advances in how the game is played internationally.
Our young players are able to analyse, learn and subsequently improve their game watching some of the world’s stars in action.
It’s changed the way the game is played at this level.
The onus is on the powers that be to keep a close tab on our young crop and nurture them for future national duties. For the organisers, this clearly is a massive platform for our youngsters. It deserves the highest level of attention, from that showered on players to the match officials.
As Suva again prepares to welcome our budding young stars to the Capital City, there is great excitement and anticipation in the air.
Last weekend was a thriller. If it’s anything to go by, this weekend is going to be one enthusiasts cannot afford to miss.

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