International tests should be priority says Fiji Rugby league CEO

The Fiji National Rugby League Chief Executive Officer Timoci Naleba says international test matches should be a priority to both players and clubs.

should be a priority to both players and clubs.

"Without diminishing the value of the clubs they play for, and the importance of upholding their contracts, they should value international teams more," he said.

"We need to make sure they notice that in order to level the playing field for all countries and teams, we need to prioritize international tests," he added.

Naleba says the celebration of 30 years of Rugby league in Samoa is an improvement for Samoa and shows the ability to host big matches such as this.

"We placed a bid to host at least one game for the world cup, however we were too late, but you see this is a stepping stone and the start of something much bigger. Samoa's hosting of this first ever Pacific test is very crucial to putting the spotlight on our countries in the Pacific," he told Loop Samoa in an interview in Apia.

Naleba credits the support of the NRL in the push to ensure the availability of players for their countries and says for countries to be able to make international tests with their best players, the international federation of rugby league must get involved.

However, Fiji Bati assistant coach Joe Dakuitoga says things are changing with Fiji being able to field its best team this Saturday.

"We were fortunate enough to get our two most experienced players in (Kevin) Naiqama and (Kane) Evans and two more of our boys who played in the grand final weren’t able to make it, but things look good for Fiji right now," he said.

"These tests are part of our push for the future and especially next year's world cup campaign so were gunning these guys now because they could be the same team we field next year," he added.

Naleba says because the focus is on preparing a team for the world cup, having more international tests is important, and having international teams that consists of their best players currently playing is crucial, which would mean being able to access them as soon as possible.

Fiji Bati meets Toa Samoa at Apia Stadium on Saturday.


Photo by FBC



Joshua Lafoai