29 November, 2017, 12:00 am
NACANI Batidravu is defying all odds to fulfil his late father Ilaitia Vukicanacanua’s dream of becoming a future All Black.
Batidravu received a five-year scholarship to study and play for Rotorua Boys High School in Rotorua, New Zealand from 2018. He will be accompanied by Waisake Salabiau.
Batidravu’s father passed away after a short illness last month and this has made Batidravu determined to achieve his father’s dream.
“I am really excited for the scholarship and I will do everything possible to fulfil my father’s dream,” Batidravu said.
“My favourite player is Joshua Tuisova and I want to become like him because I am also playing in the same position as him. I want to play for All Blacks in future and that is my father’s and also my goal.”
Salabiau who travels to Marist Brothers Primary School in Suva daily from Kiuva, Bau in Tailevu said rugby competition was very different. It feels good to get a scholarship,” he said.
“In New Zealand from under-9 to under-14 they push the scrums whereas in Fiji we only start with under-16. The other difference is that they play full ground matches and whereas in Fiji we used to play half a ground.”
Salabiau’s father Avenai Salabiau said it was a proud moment for both families.
“This year they have spent six months studying in New Zealand as they were selected from the Suva Kaji team and out of the 52 players,” Salabiau said.
“They have stamped their mark on New Zealand soil and Batidravu took the player of the tournament while Waisake was named the player of the final. I told the players to play for their themselves and their families.”
The duo depart for New Zealand next month.