Fijian team to play in Aussie rugby comp

Dual international Lote Tuqiri has hailed the news a Fijian team will participate in Australia’s National Rugby Championship from next year.

The Australian Rugby Union will make an official announcement about the decision at their Sydney headquarters later on Friday afternoon.

It’s expected the Fijian team will play some of its games at home.

Fox Sports News reported World Rugby would fund the Fijian NRC team for the next four years and that officials from that nation hoped to have a Super Rugby team within five years.

Born and raised in Fiji, Tuqiri moved to Brisbane at the age of 15 and went on to represent Australia in both rugby league and rugby union.

He felt having a team in the NRC would benefit both countries.

“I think first and foremost with World Rugby funding it’s more so for (Fiji),” Tuqiri told Fox Sports News.

“You will see kids over here wanting to play for that team, who have grown up here like myself.

“It will just be good for Australia as well. That talent will come through and you’ll have more kids playing and that’s the main thing.”

Australia had a handful of Fijian-born backs in their squad for their last two Rugby Championship away Tests in Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight. Tevita Kuridrani and Sefanaia Naivalu, who became the 900th Wallaby when he came off the bench against South Africa earlier this month

Boith Tuqiri and former Wallabies flanker Phil Waugh stressed the move would enable Fiji to keep more players at home, as there has been a steady drain of talent overseas in recent years.

“A lot of these players have to go over to Europe to become professional players,” Waugh told Fox Sports News.

“Now it’s an opportunity for them to stay at home in Fiji and have exposure to what’s a very very good competition in the NRC and then building towards the Super Rugby.”

Tuqiri felt having a Fijian NRC team would be a safer option.

“”There’s a lot of cowboy mangers taking young kids to different parts of the world and leaving them there and they becoming illegal aliens over there as well,” Tuqiri said.

He thought World Rugby had moved in a bid to stop rugby league, with talk of a Fiji-based team being included in the NSW Cup competition at some stage.

The semi-finals of the 2016 NRC will be held this weekend, with minor premiers NSW Country Eagles playing Melbourne Rising and the Sydney Rays hosting Perth Spirit.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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