Naleba commends ruggers

FIJI National Rugby League (FNRL) chief executive officer Timoci Naleba said the exposure gained at the recent Commonwealth 9s Championship in Australia was positive going into the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Fiji lost in the semi-finals last weekend to an experienced Tonga side 22-6 and later 20-6 in the bronze medal playoff to Samoa.

“We are now preparing for 2021,” Naleba said.

“Exposure was an eye opener and benchmark for the young players and coming out of competition to reach the semi-finals against Tonga, which was made up of players now in the development clubs for Australia and New Zealand,” Naleba said.

“They (Fiji) really matched up to them and it was a huge boost of confidence in our players to believe they can compete at that level.”

Naleba also commended the women’s team, which competed in its first international tournament.

The national women’s side lost to Canada 12-16 in the shield final. Australia made a clean sweep of titles at the championship. The men’s team won the U23 title beating Tonga 14-8 in the final. Their women beat Samoa by a similar margin and the Physical Disabled team won on a countback against New Zealand.

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