Sri Lankan Rugby is on the rise says Apisai Naqaliva


Apisai Naqaliva has been impressive as he tops the leading try scorers list with 12 tries.

by Roshen Steelman

After 13 weeks of rugby, Police Sports Club are ranked sixth in the points table of the ongoing Rugby league. That is not a position to be satisfied with for a team that won the Plate Championship last year. However their Fijian player Apisai Naqaliva has been impressive in the league as lead the try scorers list with 12 tries. The Fijian has contributed with 77 points for the team which includes his 12 tries and currently he is the third highest scorer in the league.

In their recent match against Army, Apisai scored a hat-trick of tries for Police to over take the soldiers. Police rely heavily on the Fijian. Apisai often involves in rucks, as the first receiver on the attack, eagerly taking quick taps on penalties. Currently he plays as the centre but he had functioned as fly half, number eight, full-back and other positions. Here are excerpts from an interview the Sunday Island had with Apisai Naqaliva recently.

Question: Currently you are the leading try scorer of the league. Tell us a little about it?

Answer: The work-outs in the Gym has helped me a lot to reach there. I always work hard and I am powerful enough to beat the local tackles and cross the try line.

Q: You have played at number of positions during the ongoing league. Does it have a bearing on your performance?

A: I believe that good players can play at any position. The situations and pressure could be different depending on the position but good players can perform well at any position. Further I play as the foreign player for Police, so I should be able to play at any position to help my team to build a sold combination.

Q: Despite your contribution Police are rated number six in the points table. Are you happy with the current rankings?

A: The rankings in the Sri Lankan league largely depends on the performances of local players. A maximum of two foreign players are allowed to play at one time. Police does not have Sri Lanka national players featuring in the team, but the top three teams Kandy, Navy and Havelock’s have top national players in their teams.

Q: How do you differentiate players in Fiji and Sri Lanka?

A: There are few Sri Lankan players who are very fast and skillful but their build and body power has not grown-up to match Fijian players. However Sri Lankan Rugby is on the rise. They need to maintain the same standard for another three or four years.

Q: You said that Sri Lanka has skillful players but they do not possess the build. What is the reason for that?

A: Rugby is not one or two days thing. You should have a routine and eat well, train well and sleep early to build your body power. I do not see that with the majority of the Sri Lankan players. That’s why they (Sri Lankan players) are getting injured very often. When it comes to Fiji players it’s different they maintain their own routine and hardly get injured in a match.

If you carefully analyse this league, you will hardly find an injured Fijian player.

Q: Tell us a little on how you got involved in Rugby?

A: I was watching rugby games when I was a kid. I started playing Rugby when I was about ten years old. From there onwards I never looked back I have continued playing.

Q: What is your goal in the sport?

A: I have represented the Fiji national team in sevens, but my main objective is to represent the Fiji 15 member national team.

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