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Sports

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President Stresses Importance of Touch Rugby
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau stressed the important role touch rugby plays in social cohesion and nation building while launching the sport’s world cup campaign at the Holiday Inn in Suva this evening.

Ratu Epeli added that the accolades and prominence touch rugby has brought to Fiji, bagging wins on the international sporting arena, calls for greater support for the sport.


“Not often do we find a sport that can be played by anyone, male and female, young and old as it is played in beaches, villages greens and communities around the country,” Ratu Epeli said.

“A sport that brings the family and community together to play each other in a game that offers both a competitive as well as a social mix with a unifying force that helps to foster team work, discipline as well as social cohesion and community solidarity which are important ingredients for nation building.

“Although touch rugby is a minor sport in the country it has made Fiji proud of its achievements.”

The Touch Rugby Association is hoping to raise about $100,000 to finance logistics and travel for the two teams they plan to field at the Touch Rugby World Cup to be staged from June 22 to 26 at Peffermills playing grounds, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Over 90 teams from 30 different countries will participate at the world cup in two divisions – open and seniors – across seven categories.

Fiji will be represented in the Mix Open and Men’s 30’s categories.

Fiji is seeded 3rd in the world in the Men’s 30’s categories and seeded 8th in the Mix Open.

Ratu Epeli noted that with a track record of successes, since the sport was introduced in Fiji in 1985, teams from Fiji were ready to stun the world.

Past successes include:

· 1999 – placed 8th in the Mix Open Category at the TWC in Australia

· 2003 – Gold Medal in Mixed and Men’s Open Categories at the South Pacific Games in Suva

· 2005 – Gold Medals in Mix, Men’s, Women’s and Men’s 30’s at SPIN, Samoa

· 2006 – Gold Medal (USP team) at World Universities Championships in Singapore

· 2007 – Gold Medal in Men’s Open at SPG, Samoa

· 2007 – Placed 4th in Men’s Open at M30’s category at TWC, South Africa

· 2009 – Silver in Mix and Men’s Open Categories at PMG, Cook Islands

“So their record speaks for itself,” Ratu Epeli said.

“Now I am told that most of the players who will represent the country at the upcoming Edinburgh world cup were part of the winning team from previous tournaments that I have already mentioned.

“Through these achievements, Fiji’s touch rugby has put Fiji on the world map which augurs well for our sporting fraternity and our international relations.
Krishna poised to remain at Waitakere
Fiji soccer wonder-boy Roy Krishna is expected to sign another contract with New Zealand based club Waitakere United.

This comes after the club's head coach Neil Emblem revealed his interest in the Siberia lad.

“Roy Krishna is keen to return. He is over the injury which sidelined him for the latter part of the season”, says Emblem.

The ASB Premiership will start in October and if Roy puts pen to paper with Labasa Football he will only be able to feature for the Auckland based side after the November transfer window.

Krishna was also part of the Waitakere Invitational XI that lost to New Zealand All Whites 4-1 last Wednesday.

The All Whites team was led by Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz.

Krishna is expected to join Labasa in the July transfer window and will stay with the team till the Inter District Championship.

Labasa President Ajesh Sharma had indicated in earlier reports that he is ready to meet Krishna’s demands.
Tonawai set to lead Fiji 7s team
With less than 5 hours remaining for the Scotland 7s to kick off, Digicel Fiji 7s captain Dale Tonawai is set and ready to lead Fiji in the first game against Scotland.

Coach Josateki Savou said that they will take each game as it comes.

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However, Scotland captain, Scott Riddell said they are confident to beat Fiji.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please login to listen.

The starting lineup for the first match against Scotland sees Dale Tonawai, Sakenasa Aca and Leone Nakarawa in the forwards.

Nikola Matawalu is at halfback, Metuisela Talebula will be at playmaker, Miteli Nacgilevu at rover with Joeli Lutumailagi starting on the wing.

Fiji's first match is against the hosts at 12.04am, they meet USA at 3.10am and their last game is against Samoa at 5.49am.

Fireworks expected in Ba-Rewa clash
Fans can expect a fast and fiery contest of football tomorrow when two of Fiji’s top districts, Rewa and Ba battle in the National Football League at Govind Park.

History has it that whenever the two sides tussle, there is always a lot in store for the fans and the goal-difference is minimal.

Ba will have the upper hand entering the match as the Men In Black toppled the Inter District champs 2-0 in the opening round of the Fiji Sun/Weet-Bix National League and they will also have the support from their loyal fans.

It will also be a special moment for new coach Josaia Bukalidi who celebrated his birthday today and will be wanting nothing less than a win to top up the joyous occasion.

Following back to back victories over the Fiji U23s and Navua, Ba will have plenty to play for as they are four points adrift from leaders Labasa and a win tomorrow will narrow the gap to a single point as the Babasiga Lions will be out of action this weekend.

An interesting midfield combination of Roneel Kumar, Kiniviliame Naika and youngsters Laisenia Raura and Ratu Vula Veidogo is expected to keep Rewa’s engine room occupied.

The Reds already will be missing star midfielders George Lui, James Naka and Kelepi Qaqa. Lui and Naka are in the Solomon Islands while Qaqa has been dropped from the team due to disciplinary reasons.

Archie Watkins and youngsters Betsy Ali are expected to lead Rewa’s attack force together with Epeli Saukuru and seasoned campaigner Joeli Ranitu while speedy Isimeli Naresia and Kitione Tabaivalu will pair up upfront for Ba.

The all exciting match kicks off at Govind Park at 3pm.
Fiji 7s coach confident of improved performance
Digicel Fiji 7s coach Josateki Savou is confident that the team will better their performance in Scotland.

Savou said that the new players really excelled in London and the team will not let the weather affect their game-plan.



South Africa coach Paul Treu said he has stressed to his players to keep focus.



The Scotland 7s kicks off at 9:30pm on Saturday

Fiji's first pool game is against Scotland at 12:04am on Sunday, they play USA in the second game at 3:10am and their last pool game is against Samoa at 5:49am.
IRB talks to NZ Govt
The International Rugby Board states that it is working with the New Zealand Government to ensure that the members of the Fiji Rugby World Cup squad can compete in the tournament.

While responding to questions sent by Fijivillage, IRB’s General Manager Oceania William Glenwright said the IRB wants all member unions to field their strongest possible side in the World Cup.

Glenwright stated that the IRB invests a lot of money in the high performance and development programs in Fiji as it does in many other countries in the Pacific and throughout the world.

He said it is in IRB’s best interest that Fiji fields its strongest possible teams in international competitions.

However Glenwright reiterates that the IRB respects New Zealand’s right to issue visas to whomever it chooses in accordance with its immigration policy.

Glenwright also confirmed that the International Rugby Board received a letter from the Fiji Rugby Union last week which outlined their ongoing concerns in relation to the travel bans that are affecting some players.

However he said the FRU has not indicated that Fiji does not intend to participate in legs of next year’s IRB Sevens Series.

FRU Chairman Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said earlier this week that Fiji may not participate in the NZ and Australia 7s next year if the travel sanctions remain
New Korean Ambassador courtesy calls on PM
The new Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Fiji, His Excellency Cheong Hae-Wook courtesy called on Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama this morning at his office in Suva.

Mr Hae-Wook takes over from his predecessor His Excellency Zeon Nam-Jin.
The two countries established official diplomatic relations in 1970, when Fiji became independent.



Fiji does not have an Embassy in Seoul but our Ambassador in Japan His Excellency Isikeli Mataitoga is also our Ambassador to ROK accredited from Japan.

South Korea – officially the Republic of Korea is an important player in the Fijian Government’s “Look North” foreign policy which involves the strengthening of diplomatic and economic relations with Asian countries.

Ends…
7s ref upsets Fiji
THE Fiji team management has written to the IRB referees manager to air their concerns over some decisions against the team at last weekend's Credit Suisse Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens.

Comments have been aired by rugby fans in Fiji and in Hong Kong about some of the referee Andrew Lees' decisions in Fiji's semi-final loss to New Zealand.

Team manager Talemo Waqa said he had lodged a complaint after viewing the DVD of Fiji's games last weekend and picked out several incidents where the referee's interpretations of the rules were questioned.

Waqa said while they respected the referee's decision as final, they needed to write a formal letter of concern because they felt their side of the story needed to be known by the tournament organisers.

"The letter is with them and I just hope they will also view the DVD and make their decision. We're happy that we have a process in place where we can air our concerns regarding issues like this," Waqa said. "But we will respect their decision."

Waqa is on his first assignment on the IRB series and is a Level Three referee. In the Cup semi-final between Fiji and New Zealand, Lees twice failed to penalise New Zealand players for late hits.

Source: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=169575
Barclays Premier League in numbers
We look back at the latest weekend of the Barclays Premier League season with some key facts and figures.



1 - Birmingham City have managed just one point from a possible 12 after going down 2-1 to bottom club Wigan Athletic.

2 - Blackpool let slip a two-goal lead for the third time this season as they were pegged back for a 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers.

click here
3 - Just three points separate the bottom eight clubs in the Barclays Premier League's tightest survival scrap for years.

4 - Stoke City's 4-0 win over Newcastle United was their best ever victory in the Barclays Premier League.

late decider

6 - West Ham United have now taken six points from their last four away matches after their creditable 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane where they have not won since April 1999.

8 - Dimitar Berbatov's late decider means Manchester United have won their last eight Old Trafford encounters with Bolton Wanderers. Sir Alex Ferguson's men have now won their last 12 home matches.

10- Fulham have lost all nine Premier League visits to Goodison Park where their only ever victory came in the FA Cup en route to the final in 1975.

12- Robin van Persie's late leveller means Arsenal are now unbeaten in their last 12 Barclays Premier League fixtures. They are the only team unbeaten in the division in 2011.

13 - Wigan Athletic have gone 13 matches without keeping a clean sheet but they came from behind to beat relegation rivals Birmingham City 2-1.

18 - Wolverhampton Wanderers' 1-0 win at Villa Park was their first success in 18 matches against Villa and their first victory at the home of their neighbours since March 1980.

20 - The 2-0 win at Sunderland means Liverpool have picked up 20 points from 10 Barclays Premier League matches since Kenny Dalglish took charge, the best record in the division.

349 - Sunderland have now gone 349 minutes without a goal since Asamoah Gyan netted at home to Spurs on 12th February.

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