• By Simione Haravanua | Fiji Sun

    07 Jun 2020 14:55
    Revealed: Why Bati Prefers Hymn To War Cry
    The Vodafone Fijian Bati team singing “ This is my prayer” before a test match. Photo: RWLC

    Their voices thundered at the Wollongong Stadium in Sydney, Australia, as the Vodafone Fijian Bati sang a hymn before their opening clash against France at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. For the first time, the Bati had done away with their traditional war cry of ‘Quruquru Vatu’, which is usually performed before the start of a Test match. Instead, they opted to sing the hymn ‘Oqo Na Noqu Masu’ (This Is My Prayer) which reflected on the team’s love for God and country.

    For the first time captain Wes Naiqama broke his silence on the issue. As captain for the 2008 side, Naiqama endorsed the singing of the hymn after then board chairman the late Peni Musunamasi, had raised the issue with him. “We were a playing group then and obviously we had a travelling pastor who is still with us now,” Naiqama recalled. “We were still learning so we talked about culture and what we wanted to be known for. “We sat down and they explained to us what the traditional war cry meant.” At the time, Naiqama says, the team pastor (Ilaitia Tagituimua) was holding a series of Bible study lessons with the team. It was based on David’s strategy to overcome Goliath.

    “The pastor challenged us to go this way because faith plays a big part in our Fijian culture and it’s rich within our families. “So as a playing group we sat down and thought it was an amazing idea of putting God in the forefront of our camp.” Naiqama said this has been the highlight of every Bati campaign either at the World Cups or during the mid-year Test matches. “We are using our platform to proclaim our faith in the Lord and it has captured the public but moreover it has impacted people’s lives as well. “It feels so good when looking at social media, people from all different countries, from all different works of life are getting to know the hymn. It has been amazing.”


    Naiqama said when they adopted the change in 2008 it had a big impact on some of the young players. “One of them was Jarryd Hayne who later became a superstar of the game. “What made it easy was that most of the squad members were local based-players. There were only five of us from Australia. “Hayne did not know much about faith or Jesus until he joined camp. “He even said it publically after the World Cup campaign that what he encountered in Fiji changed his life forever,” he said. “That’s the thing we took on pretty easily and every day it came with the acceptance that you can just force people to sing the hymn. “This is because you’re in the team and as part of the culture you are to live it every day. “Also, you’ve to maintain that standard and it’s not hard to sort of adjust to it. If you are from a Christian background, it’s not so hard to buy into it.”


    Once the hymn culture settled in, Naiqama says the coaching staff realised the bond among the players grew stronger. “Our daily devotion was the most powerful thing. Once you start to breakdown those barriers especially on those who do not know about God. “One player Eloni Vunakece, didn’t have any sort of belief but he came out a changed man. So it sort of brings the boys together and it was the highlight of my time in camp,” he said. 

    Wes Naiqama.

    Wes Naiqama. [PC: Simione Haravanua]

    Naiqama said the evening devotions centred on players giving their testimonies and it made them much stronger.


    Naiqama said the experience of singing the hymn for the first time is always vivid in his mind. “We had our first game in Wollongong against France and we were standing in a circle with the microphone in there. “The silence was an amazing feeling and I’ve never experienced something like that ever before. “So it just happens and this replicates every time we get into that group. You just feel the bond with the boys being pumped up. “One minute they are singing the hymn so beautifully and next minute they are running into a wall of 12 people and its pretty fun.” Naiqama said some NRL players couldn’t believe how good the players’ voices were. “They sing so well but they are all big fans of it so they ask the translation, what it means and how it felt.

    “It always received massive support and it’s growing even more and more. “When we were in New Zealand last year we could see Kiwis in the crowd sing along with the words so it’s pretty cool and I’m honoured. “As a Christian I have a sense of satisfaction to see that people from all walks of life singing the hymn. “That means so much to us so it’s pretty col and awesome they just love it. “I think I the Crusaders once sung the song when they won the Super Rugby final.”


    Naiqama said fellow Bati teammate Jone Wesele was the man who led them during their hymn practice.

    “Jone goes above and beyond his role because he is such a good team person.”


  • Fiji Bati and Parramatta Eels centre Waqa Blake [Photo: NRL]

    Fiji Bati and Parramatta Eels centre Waqa Blake has escaped suspension despite being charged for a high tackle in their dramatic win over Manly.

    Blake has been charged with a grade-one careless high tackle in Parramatta's 19-16 win at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.

    However, because of the low grading and his good record he will cop a $AUD550 fine if he enters an early guilty plea or $AUD750 if he unsuccessfully challenges the charge at the judiciary.

    The Eels lead the NRL Standings after claiming four wins in their opening four matches.

    Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will face the Dragons at 6.05 tonight in the final match of Round 4.

    [Source: NRL.COM]

    NRL Round 4

    Date Time Team Team
    Thur 04 Jun 9:50PM Broncos 0 - 59 Roosters
    Fri 05 Jun 8:00PM Panthers 26 - 0 Warriors
    Fri 05 Jun 9:55PM Storm 22 - 8 Rabbitohs
    Sat 06 Jun 7:30PM Eels 19 - 16 Sea Eagles
    Sat 06 Jun 9:35PM Cowboys 16 - 26 Sharks
    Sun 07 Jun 6:05PM Raiders 18 - 34 Knights
    Sun 07 Jun 8:30PM Titans 28 - 23 Wests Tigers

  • Monday 08/06/20201

    Teenage cross-code sensation Joseph Sua-alii is set to become the youngest millionaire in rugby league history.

    The Daily Telegraph reported Suaalii will sign a four-year contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs worth $2 million.

    The 16-year-old will, therefore, earn $500,000 a season and has been tipped to eventually replace Latrell Mitchell at fullback for the Rabbitohs.

    Sua-alii has already represented New South Wales in rugby league, rugby union, AFL and basketball.

    Suaalii is set to sign a AUS$2 million contract with the Rabbitohs [Photo: getty Image]

    Suaalii was playing for the Kings School's first XV side at the age of 14. He has also represented the New South Wales Schoolboys Sevens and Australian under 18s Sevens teams before his 16th birthday.

    Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly is not allowed to sign Suaalii until August but is eager for the opportunity to lock him in.

    Solly says he is not just a very good player but a player you want in your club.

    [Source: NZ Herald]
  • Ratu Akuila Cama 

    Senior Multimedia Sports Journalist | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @AkuilaFBCNews

    JUNE 8, 2020 4:10 PM

    Former Fiji Bati captain Ashton Sims recalls the first time he met his Fijian family in Ba.

    While speaking to NRL.com, Sims who has maternal links to Ba says he didn’t realize that his family is a level of Fijian royalty and it was very emotional and stirring when he finally met them.

    Sims says representing the Bati it was one of the proudest moments of his career and he’s passionate about representing his Fijian heritage.

    The 35 -year -old who is the elder brother of Dragons players Tariq and Korbin and women’s league pioneer Ruan says he has never forgotten the words of Petero Civoniceva after Fiji was thrashed 52-0 by Australia in the semifinal.

    Sims says Civoniceva reminded them that they were doing a great thing for Fijian rugby league, not just rugby league in general, for the kids in Fiji to look up and aspire to a rugby league team that is representing their nation very proudly.

    He adds those words by Civoniceva really resonated with him and that’s why he always put his hands up for Fijian duties.

    Sims says he was lucky enough to play in three World Cups and captained Fiji on one occasion.

    He says those times pulling on the Fiji Bati jersey, he look very fondly on them and cherish them very close to his heart.

    Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will host the Sharks at 6:05pm today in the last NRL round five match.

  • 2021 trials for Silktails in four months

    JUNE 8, 2020 1:19 PM


    The Kaiviti Silktails will undergo another trials in October or November.

    This has been confirmed by Silktails Chair and Ambassador Petero Civoniceva who says main purpose of the trials is to select an extended squad for next season’s Ron Massey Cup.

    After pulling out of this year’s competition due to financial constraints and COVID-19, Civoniceva says the Vodafone Cup is another competition players can still strut their stuff.

    The former Bati skipper adds not taking part in this year’s RMC is not the end of the road as the future looks bright for our local players.

    ‘There’s a real there for our local players to know that there’s still obviously that opportunity and chance to represent the Silktails in next year’s 2021 Ron Massy Cup season in the New South Wales Rugby League”  - Petero Civoniceva.

    The Kaiviti Silktails thrashed Windsor Wolves 40-16 in their first RMC match in March and they were supposed to play their next match in Lautoka the following week but it was cancelled after Fiji confirmed its first COVID-19 case.

    Players have been given their training programs and they will feature for their respective clubs in the Vodafone Cup which is expected to kick off on July 18 if restrictions are lifted.

  • Karalaini Tavi

    Multimedia Journalist Sports Desk | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @KaralainiTaviFBCNews

    APRIL 11, 2020 7:21 AM

    The initial plans to select the Fiji Bati squad for the Pacific Test in October has been changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Bati is set to play New Zealand and Tonga at the end of the NRL season as a build up to the 2021 World Cup.

    Fiji Bati Head Coach Brandon Costin says he originally wanted to monitor the local and overseas player’s performances for their various clubs but this has all changed.

    Speaking to FBC News Brandon said, “My selection process would have revolve around the Ron Massey Cup out of Fiji and how well they adapted to the week in week our competition and how many of those players we would get into that test side and that would give us the whole season to watch the NRL matches as well and make the right decision”

    The Bati is drawn with defending champions Australia for next year’s Rugby League Word Cup along with Scotland and Italy.

    [Source: FBC NEWS]

  • Talei Matairakula

    Multimedia Journalist Sports Desk | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | @TaleiMatairakulaFBCNews

    MAY 27, 2020 5:38 PM

    The Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) continues to explore fixture options for the 2020 Oceania Cup.

    The tournament was originally scheduled to consist of two rounds of fixtures in June and October-November including Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

    The recent confirmation of the NRL’s 2020 calendar has allowed APRLC to scope a new schedule of Oceania Cup fixtures for November that could run concurrently with the State of Origin series.

    This would mean Fiji is likely to face Tonga and New Zealand at the end of the year but Fiji National Rugby League interim chief executive Don Natabe says the APRLC has until August to make the final decision.

    APRLC chair Sandis Tsaka says there is still much uncertainty about international travel, mass gatherings and the ability to stage sporting events with crowds, and these factors will influence options for Oceania Cup matches.

    This as FNRL is anticipating an end of the year test between the Fiji Bati and the invitational Tonga side in October as a build-up to the Rugby League World Cup next year.

    The International Rugby League expelled Tonga after a long-running battle over governance, money and a threatened player boycott but FNRL interim chief executive Don Natabe says the IRL has adopted a structure that will allow Tonga to play Fiji as an invitational side.

    “At this time the international rugby league has granted a sort of temporary membership structure that is to enable the Tonga invitational team to play against Fiji at the end of the year test.”

    Natabe adds the Asia Pacific Rugby League is working around the clock to decide the fate of the test match.

    “We do know the fixtures is looking to have Tonga meet Fiji on the October test. We have until August which is the deadline for the APRL to deliver the final verdict on whether or not we are going to have the end of year test.”

    The Fiji Bati was scheduled to play Tonga and New Zealand at the end of the 2020 NRL season as a preparation towards the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

  • Dragons v Sharks, Sunday 6.30pmAEST at Campbelltown Stadium

    Dragons: Euan Aitken replaces the injured Brayden Wiliame (calf) at centre, Tyrell Fuimaono starts in the second row for Tariq Sims (wrist), and Matt Dufty joins the interchange.

    Sharks: Chad Townsend's return shifts Matt Moylan to fullback and Will Kennedy out of the 17. Mawene Hiroti replaces Ronaldo Mulitalo on the wing, Andrew Fifita starts at prop, Toby Rudolf goes back to the interchange and Siosifa Talakai drops out of the side.

  • Eels v Panthers at Bankwest Stadium

    Eels: Nathan Brown returns at lock, bumping Marata Niukore to the bench. Ray Stone joins the interchange with Brad Takairangi and Oregon Kaufusi dropping out.

    Panthers: Nathan Cleary's return in the halves means Matt Burton moves back to the bench, with Mitch Kenny out of the 17.

  • We are delighted to announce that the Fiji men’s team to be based in Hull

    This announcement celebrates 500 days until the opening fixture of RLWC2021

    With 500 days to go until the opening fixture of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), tournament organisers have announced where teams will be based for next years’ tournament.

    The Yorkshire city of Hull will be home to the Fiji men’s team, with The Bati hoping to go a step further after missing out to eventual winners Australia in the 2017 semi-final. The city will be hosting two men’s games, including a quarter-final, at the KCOM Stadium.

    The squads from the 21 unique nations and 32 teams will be based in different locations. The full list of host towns and cities, and the corresponding nations is as follows:

    • Bolton – France (Men’s)
    • Doncaster – Samoa (Men’s)
    • Hull – Fiji (Men’s)
    • Leeds – Jamaica, Ireland (Men’s) | England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Canada (Women’s)
    • Liverpool and St Helen’s – Tonga, Italy (Men’s teams)
    • London – England, Australia, Norway, Spain (Wheelchair)
    • Manchester – England, Australia (Men’s)
    • Newcastle – Scotland (Men’s)
    • Preston – Wales (Men’s)
    • Sheffield – Greece (Men’s) | France, Wales, Scotland, USA (Wheelchair)
    • Tees Valley – Cook Islands (Men’s)
    • Warrington – Papua New Guinea (Men’s)
    • Wigan/Leigh – Lebanon (Men’s)
    • York – New Zealand (Men’s) | Australia, New Zealand, France, Cook Islands (Women’s)


    All the host cities and towns, including those who won’t be a dedicated team base (Coventry and Kirklees), will form a huge part of making the tournament a success, welcoming players from around the world and adopting them as their own, as they get behind them and cheer them on in 500 days’ time. Following this announcement, the fixtures for all three tournaments will be announced in the coming months.

    RLWC2021 has today also revealed new branding for the tournament, celebrating the power of together, focusing on human interest stories and emotional connections, with the goal of connecting with a universal audience.

    The new branding will also include bespoke elements from each host, drawing on recognisable icons and displaying the sense of civic pride each host has for its town or city. RLWC2021 will be asking people from each town and city to vote on the icons that make up their custom patterns in the coming months and will be doing something similar for the nations towards the end of the year.

    Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “Today marks another hugely exciting milestone on the road to Rugby League World Cup 2021 as we celebrate 500 days until the opening fixture at St James' Park in October next year.

    “We expect the Fiji team to bring their famous traditions and passion to the city of Hull, as they look to go one step further after 2017. The current UK City of Culture will be the perfect home for The Bati.

    “Our refreshed tournament identity and today’s team base announcement can serve as an exciting reminder for the competing nations of what’s to come in 2021, and give our hosts the first glimpse into who they can expect to see in their home town as we continue to build momentum towards what promises to be the biggest and best ever Rugby League World Cup.”

    Please visit www.RLWC2021.com for more information and for details on how to sign up to the receive ticket alerts and all the latest news first.


  • Scrums may be scrapped and the NRL's new six-again rule introduced when Super League resumes in a bid to reduce the risk of players contracting COVID-19.

    The changes will be considered by Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs ahead of possible implementation at the next RFL Board meeting in early July to help make the sport safer in the current public health situation.

    The RFL Laws Committee recommended to clubs that they consider the removal of scrums from all fixtures for the rest of 2020, pending further clarification from Public Health England.

    Medical experts on the committee presented strong evidence showing this would considerably reduce the threat of potential exposure to and transmission of COVID-19 between players during matches – and therefore reduce the risk of major disruption to any rearranged fixture list because of positive tests.

    The introduction of the six-again whereby the tackle count is re-started for ruck infringements rather than a penalty being awarded is also viewed as having health benefits.

    Officials believe the increased speed of play-the-balls under the six-again rule would reduce the number of players in each tackle and the amount of time spent in close contact.

    "These are major recommendations, but these are unprecedented times, presenting the game with unique challenges," said RFL CEO and chair of the Laws Committee Ralph Rimmer.

    "The Committee recognised the importance of consulting widely within the game before the recommendations are put to the RFL Board, and that process has already started. But we believe rugby league is well-served by its agility, in terms of being able to consider and implement such significant changes."

    A further three NRL rule changes introduced earlier in 2020 are being considered for the resumption of the northern hemisphere season:

    • When a team kicks out on the full, play will be restarted by a play-the-ball rather than a scrum;
    • The restart following a mutual infringement (such as the ball hitting the referee or a trainer) will be a play-the-ball rather than a scrum;
    • Restrictions on the legal point of contact for a third defender in an upright tackle, which must now be above the knee.

    "The recommendation to adopt a number of the rule changes that have been introduced in the NRL in 2020 will also assist in the important process of aligning the rules across both hemispheres," Rimmer said.

  • By Tifa Vataiki | Fiji Village.Com

    Sunday 14/06/2020

    Suliasi Vunivalu scored as the Melbourne Storm beat the Newcastle Knights - [Photo: Getty Image]

    Suliasi Vunivalu scored as the Melbourne Storm beat the Newcastle Knights 26-12.

    In typical Storm fashion, skipper Cameron Smith was the chief orchestrator in the victory, keeping up the pressure on the Knights who eventually crumbled.

    Smith set up two of the three first-half tries as Melbourne took an 18-2 lead into the sheds, but it could have been more if not for some defensive resilience from the Knights.

    In other matches last night, the Rabbitohs beat the Titans 32-12 while the Canberra Raiders beat the Wests Tigers 14-6.

  • By Naveel Krishant | Fiji Village.Com

    Saturday 13/06/2020

    Fiji Bati star Waqa Blake scored a try as the Parramatta Eels beat the Penrith Panthers 16-10 - [Photo: NRL]

    Fiji Bati star Waqa Blake scored a try as the Parramatta Eels beat the Penrith Panthers 16-10 last night.

    A barnstorming effort from Blake in the 62nd minute started a three-try onslaught in a five-minute period after the Eels had trailed 10-0 with a quarter of the match remaining.

    He also set up a try for his teammate.

    In another match last night, the Warriors beat the Cowboys 37-26.

    Looking at the matches today, the Rabbitohs will face the Titans at 5pm, the Knights will play the Storm at 7.30pm while the Wests Tigers will battle the Raiders at 9.35 tonight.


    NRL Round 5
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