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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times Online (23 May 2008)

Fatiaki to replace Leawere

SHARKS forward Mosese Fatiaki has a big role to play in the Flying Fijians after being called up to fill in for strapping lock forward Kele Leawere.

Local players Fatiaki, Aminiasi Nava, Setefano Somoca, Samuela Anise and Aca Bibi have been bracketed in the squad for absent players who represented Fiji at the Rugby World Cup.

After playing for the Police team last year, the 28-year-old from Motusa in Rotuma, was drafted into the Sharks franchise and played a key role in helping the team reach the semi-finals of the Colonial Cup.

He was later selected into the Barbarians team and played in their matches during the Pacific Rugby Cup competition.

Knowing that his place with the Flying Fijians depends on the availability of Leawere, Fatiaki is taking the opportunity with both hands. "We all know that Kele is one of the experienced players in the team," said Fatiaki, who's mother hails from Navuso in Naitasiri.

"The position is not an easy one and it won't be easy filling in for him while he is away.

"But I'm ready to take on the role and step up another level.

"I want to learn a lot while I'm in the team and then work my way up from there.

"A lot of the players who have been around have been helpful and guiding us well."

He said his selection came as a "surprise".

"I'm really happy to be given a chance to try out for a place in the team," Fatiaki said. "Actually, my selection came as a surprise and I thank the Lord for giving me the strength to be able to make it this far."

Coach Ilivasi Tabua has re-called 12 of his forwards from last year's world cup campaign as he tries to continue the momentum from the RWC in France.

Fatiaki said last year's quarter-final achievement had set the bench mark for him and the new players in the side to try to match.

"We know it's no easy feat but we are ready to put our bodies on the line for the team."

Tabua said the inclusion of the local players in the side was to help rebuild the team with the 2011 RWC in mind.

"What these players learn from here, they can take it back to the teams back home," Tabua said.

"It's an easy way of spreading what we want and when they return, they know what is required in the team."

How long Fatiaki can keep up with the pace is yet to be seen.