Seruvakula to coach Fijian Warriors as squad to Samoa named

Flying Fijians assistant coach Senirusi Seruvakula will guide the Fijian Warriors as they prepare for the World Rugby Pacific Challenge in Samoa next month.

Seruvakula, who coached the Fijiana Drua to their inaugural Super W Championship and led the Fijiana 15s to the Rugby World Cup, now has been handed the task of mentoring the Warriors, the nation's development team.

He was the coach of the Warriors which went undefeated between 2015 and 2019. Seruvakula will be assisted by former Flying Fijians and Fiji 7s rep Sireli Naqelevuki.

The duo has put together a strong 28-member squad which will travel to Samoa at the end of the month, where they will meet the equivalent sides of Tonga, Samoa and Japan.

Seruvakula said they have selected the best available players to represent the Warriors.

"We have selected the majority of the players who have been in the high-performance system and have performed up to the expectation during the provincial games last season," he said.

Eight players from the travelling 28-member squad played for the Fijian Warriors last year while the majority have already played for the Fijian U-20s.

Atani Aisake, Joseva Nasaroa, Ebernezer Navula, Ilikimi Torosi, Taitusi Lulusinu, Paul Dolokoto, Jonathan Sovasova, and Jack Volavola have all played for the Warriors.

Seruvakula has named two over 23-year-old players, hooker Joseva Nasaroa and fly-half Enele Malele.

Malele will also captain the side during the tour to Samoa.

"The majority of the players selected are experienced as they have played on the world stage and they understand the responsibility it comes with playing for the Warriors in the Pacific Challenge," said Seruvakula.

"We have shifted our preparation gear and have been focused on the job ahead. These players have been in camp since Monday and we have been hitting the hard yards to achieve our goals.

"While we will aim to win the World Rugby Pacific Challenge again, it's also ideal to give these players the much-needed game time and also cap them so they have a pathway to work towards becoming a Flying Fijian," he said.

FRU acting CEO Sale Sorovaki said: "It's great to have this competition back after a lapse of three years as this is the key pathway for our age-grade players."

"This pathway has also been a key stepping stone for young and upcoming players as they look forward to being involved with our elite teams such as Fijian Drua, Fijian 7s, and Flying Fijians."

The World Rugby Challenge kicks off on Wednesday, May 3.