Fiji Rugby is pleased to announce its Fijian Under-18 side which will tour to New Zealand early next month.
The squad compromises of players who were part of the Skipper Cup Under-19 competition this season and the Vodafone Dean Trophy.
Head Coach Masi Saqanavere said “The selection of players has been on going from the Skipper Under 19 Competition and the Deans Competition – at the different Zones. This is a luxury we missed out on for the last two years under Covid-19.”
The players selected in the extended squad were given an opportunity to declare their availability to represent the Fiji School Boys Team. The final 27 players were selected from those that declared themselves available.
“We respect the decisions and wishes of players who opted to represent their schools in the Vodafone Deans competition, especially after the lapse of two years in the competition, “said Saqanavere.
He added that the New Zealand Tour Agreement had been signed off earlier in the year before the confirmation of Vodafone Deans Competition dates was confirmed.
The players have assembled twice for a day each under the span of the last two weeks for screening, testing and for some rugby content.
Saqanavere said “The selected players will be allowed to play at the Vodafone Deans Trophy quarterfinals for their respective schools before marching into Suva next week for a three-day Camp.
If the team progresses to the next stage, then the players will be released after the three-day camp to play for their schools in the Vodafone Deans semifinals.”
He added that the exposure these age-grade players get from playing quality oppositions in foreign environments with travel and other variables in the modern-day game is the biggest objective that will grow our players in their development.
“The vital part is that we will have players monitored for both on and off-field performances and the process builds the HPU Academy where players will go through two years of preparation to qualify for the Vodafone Fijian Under 20s and then on to the Fiji Warriors, Fijian Drua and the Flying Fijians.
The Fijian Under-18 team flies to New Zealand on the 3rd of October.
The 27-member Fijian Under-18 team is as follows
4th October Fijian Under-18 v Hurricanes
11th October Fijian Under-18 v NZ Barbarians
15th October Fijiana Under-18 v New Zealand Under-18