Fiji honour close to Naiqama's heart
November 1, 2017 5:26 pm
Rugby union may be the national sport of Fiji but rugby league is quickly becoming just as popular around the island nation.
That is according to Vodaone Fiji Bati captain Kevin Naiqama, who has seen firsthand rugby league’s rapid rise in popularity over a relatively short time span.
Naiqama, who has played 12 Tests for his country, believes the turning point came in 2008 when Fiji travelled to the World Cup in Australia and put together their best ever finish.
The Bati made the semi-finals of that tournament, following it up with another semi-final showing in 2013, and based on their 58-12 demolition of the USA in Week 1 of this year’s World Cup, a third semi-final appearance in a row is very much a possibility.
This continued success has seen the profile of the sport continue to grow, and there are now plans for a Fijian side to enter the NSW Cup in 2019.
The Fiji Bati plays Wales at 9.30pm on Sunday.
In other matches this week, Australia plays France at 9.05pm on Friday.
On Saturday, New Zealand plays Scotland at 4.05pm, Samoa battles Tonga at 6.35pm while England takes on Lebanon at 9.05pm.
Papua New Guinea hosts Ireland at 7.05pm on Sunday while at the same time, Italy plays USA.