FRU prepares Vanua XV for NZ tour

B Division players in action during their trial at Bidesi park in Suva. Picture: VENINA KAUTOGA

THE Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) has injected another incentive for local players to have an opportunity to contest for a position in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad.

Compared with the Fiji Airways Drua team where the cream of players from the Skipper Cup competition were selected, another opportunity has now opened for players in the B-Division to be part of something big in representing Fiji in a New Zealand tour next month.

About 120 players from the 16 teams that participated in the Vanua Championship and the Bainimarama Shield competitions were selected for a trial at the Bidesi Ground in Suva yesterday.

Those selected will be part of a 35-member squad which will be dropped to a 30-member touring party to NZ.

FRU operations and development manager Sale Sorovaki said it was an opportunity for local players to improve their rugby career.

“This is an opportunity for these players to move up to the next level,” the former Fiji 15s captain said.

“This is a pathway for these players to move up to the Fiji Drua, Fiji Warriors and to the Flying Fijians. It is a good incentive for the Vodafone Vanua Championship teams.

“The 30 selected players will tour New Zealand and play two teams from the Heartland XV and it is a good buildup and development for our local players.

Meanwhile, former Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male and former national reps Saiasi Fuli, Koli Sewabu and other coaches from various teams in the B-Division grade were present at the ground to assist the coaches in selecting the 35-member squad.

The NZ Heartland XV is a local championship commonly known as the Mitre 10 and the Fiji team will test its calibre against two of teams competing in the tourney.

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