Fatiaki controls Babas mid-field
TAILEVU'S Ravai Fatiaki gets the biggest break in his budding rugby career when he takes up a pivotal role in the Fiji Barbarians backline to face Savai'i Samoa in Apia today.
The 21-year-old flyhalf from the Nausori Rugby Club in Tailevu makes his debut in the Pacific Rugby Cup competition and will man the number 12 jumper for the Air Pacific-sponsored side at the Marist Stadium.
Ravai played a key role in the Knights' Colonial Cup campaign where they narrowly lost 15-16 in the final against the Crusaders.
The former Lelean Memorial School student was part of Tailevu's successful Farebrother Trophy challenge last season, where he made his debut.
He will combine with Sharks standoff Amani Bosenawai and hard-hitting Tailevu centre Tikiko Uluiviti.
"Ravai has come up the ranks very quickly and played a key role during the Colonial Cup. Every time he's been given an opportunity, he's proved himself," Barbarians coach Eddie Waqa said. "He has a lot of confidence and is a good communicator. He give's us more kicking options. With Amani being a left footer, we can use Ravai in tight situations with his right boot.
"He also has a good understanding and executes our moves well. He is a big defender and teaming up with Uluiviti will form a strong mid-field pair."
Waqa said Fatiaki would be used to bring in exciting fullback Simeli Koniferedi into play. He added the weather was overcast and predictions were for fine weather for the 3pm kick-off.
"There was a little drizzle, otherwise it should be fine. We had our captain's run at the Marist Stadium and the ground is in good condition," Waqa said.
"Our game plan is to play wide and use the space."
The side has received a lot of support from the Fijian community which has ensured the team management of their vocal backing at the grounds.
"Students at the Alofa campus (University of the South Pacific) have been visiting the players. We have a big support group here."