Nasoko anticipates tough battle in the team

Filimoni Botitu on attack during the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team training session at Albert Park in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

HE might be one of the youngest players in the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team but his presence can be a threat to the senior players.

These were the words of skipper Kalione Nasoko as he described Filimoni Botitu’s inclusion in the Fiji team for the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship this weekend.

Botitu, a former Natabua High School student, who was named best player at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Rugby Championship.

He helped the team return home with the World Rugby U20 Trophy.

Botitu is the cousin and namesake of former national 7s winger Filimoni Botitu, who played for Fiji at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The 20-year-old hails from Nailaga Village in Ba and has maternal links in Korobebe Village in Nadi played for Natabua High School from the U15 to U18 grades before being selected into the Vodafone Fiji U20 squad.

His journey in rugby was not a surprise as he continued to improve his game along the way. He began playing rugby when he was nine-years-old.

“Since I started playing rugby, my dream was to don the white jersey one day,” Botitu said.

“I was a member of the Sabeto Primary School team from the U9 to U14 for the Milo Kaji rugby competition.

“From there I continued training and never gave up, I guess the support from home was there from the beginning.

“Being selected in the national 7s team is an honour but it also comes with a lot of expectation and responsibility,” he said.

Nasoko spoke highly of the new players especially the under-20 players and said the young players had blended in well and they were really working hard to prove themselves.

“So for us senior players, we will have to work extra hard if we want to make it to the final squad for Dubai,” Nasoko said.

Another player Ilikena Vudogo was also in the U20 side.

The Oceania 7s Championship will start on Friday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

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