The Vodafone Fijiana 15’s squad for the inaugural WXV 3 Tournament in Dubai has been announced with a mix of debutants and experienced players making their return to the national fold.
The newcomers include Penina Turova, Mary Kanace, Iva Sauira, and Kadavu lass Loraini Senivutu.
Turova, hailing from Worcester Warriors in the English Premier Club, brings her international experience to the Fijiana squad. Kanace represents the New Zealand Defense Force, and Sauira plays for the Tasman Mako Womens in the Farah Palmer Cup.
Regarding the debutants, coach Inoke Male said, “It’s good to have the three international players training with us in Fiji; they have been in camp for a few months and are integrating well with the local players. They are all standout performers in their respective clubs, and we are grateful that they are also willing to wear the white jersey.”
These newcomers add depth to a squad that includes several local players who made their debut in the Vodafone Fijiana vs. Japan test match last month.
Notable names among the returning players include Salanieta Nabuli, Tiana Robanakadavu, Unaisi Lalabalavu, Salanieta Kinita, Merewairita Neivosa, and Atelaite Buna.
The squad welcomes the return of Bitila Tawake, the Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua captain, who is making her comeback to rugby after a short break. Joining her is the robust center, Vani Arei, adding further experience and leadership to the team.
Coach Male highlighted the cohesion and determination within the group, with their primary focus on making a significant impact in Dubai.
The WXV3 tournament will see Fiji compete against formidable teams like Colombia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Kenya. It also serves as a qualifier for the 2025 Rugby World Cup.
The tournament will adopt a cross-pool format, where the fate of the bottom-ranked team will be determined by a playoff against the next best side, as per the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.
The tournament kicks off on October 13 at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
13th October: Fiji v Colombia
20th October: Fiji v Spain
27th October: Fiji v Kazakhstan
Team List: 1. Bitila Tawake (VC) 2. Salanieta Nabuli 3. Loraini Senivutu * 4. Tiana Robanakadavu 5. Penina Turova * 6. Merevesi Ofakimalino 7. Unaisi Lalabalavu 8. Ana Korovata 9. Doreen Narokete 10. Nunia Daunimoala 11. Sulita Waisega 12. Karalaini Naisewa 13. Sereima Leweniqila (C) 14. Mereoni Nakesa 15. Teresia Tinanivalu 16. Evivi Senikarivi 17. Salanieta Kinita 18. Vani Arei 19. Wainikiti Vosadrau 20. Adita Milinia 21. Adi Fulori Rotagavira 22. Merewai Cumu 23. Rusila Nagasau (VC) 24. Setaita Railumu 25. Jennifer Goodsir Ravutia 26. Merewairita Neivosa 27. Atelaite Buna 28. Luisa Tisolo 29. Mary Kanace 30. Iva Sauira