With the dust settled and the winner, Fiji crowned we at Last Word on Rugby would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the Women who stood out during the tournament. In saying that, we are pleased to present our LWOR Oceania Rugby Women’s XVs Dream Team.
Every one of the players all deserved to be included for their outstanding performance and valiant efforts representing their country, family and friends. The spirit of camaraderie shown on and off the field by all teams should be applauded. A ‘dream team’ is subjective, so in respect to others opinions….here we go.
On the field, they are competitors. Off the field they are sisters playing the game they love, craving for that equal playing field.
The winning Fijiana captain in her post-game interview mentioned how they are ‘not supported well enough at home’ and they hope their win can bring in the support they need. It’s an uphill battle for all these women yet, like a true warrior princess of the Pacific, they take what is thrown at them, show determination and make sacrifices as much as the men do. All prepared to invest in their passions, and play the game they love.
We have selected the Top XV players based on their performance – and say ‘well done’ toith those who played well but just lose out, in making the cut.
2018 Oceania Rugby Women’s XVs Dream Team
Fullback – Soteria Puluma (Samoa)
Her ability to counter-attack from her fullback berth earns her the spot. She is steady defensively and runs beautiful lines that take her over the advantage line over and over again.
Outside back – Tima Ravisa (Fiji)
To accommodate Puluma at fullback we had to shift the tournament’s top try-scorer to the wings. She used her Sevens experience well linking up well with her inside backs and finishing well when opportunity knocks.
Center – Josephine Falesita(SAM)
Strong in defense and ran over the advantage line well for Manu Sina.
Center – Rusila Nagasau (FIJ)
The Fijiana captain was all over the field in attack and defense. Her combination with other former Sevens stars stood out for Fijiana. Billy-Jean Ale of Samoa and Debbie Kaore of PNG Palais both deserve special mentions.
Outside back – Lumepa Maiava (SAM)
Her bulldozing runs and ability to score from running over the defense earns her the blindside spot. Steady defensively too when needed.
First-five – Torika Seniyasi (FIJ)
She was instrumental in the running of the Fijiana backs who were a class above the rest. Very fast off her feet and an eye for the try line. Will grow more if given a chance to play Sevens rugby. Her goal kicking needs work. Ayesha Smalley stood out for Samoa.
Halfback – Ana Maria Roqica (FIJ)
The former Sevens captain was a class on her own running the link between the forwards and backs. Her experience stood out and is knocking on a stint back in Sevens.
Flanker – Lavenia Tinai (FIJ)
LWOR had to shift her back to the position she started their campaign with. She was outstanding in defense and attack finding holes to people through like the great Zinzan Brooke. Karalaini Naisewa and Nina Foaese deserve special mentions for a great campaign.
Flanker – Sui Puarasi (SAM)
To accommodate her we had to shift Tinai to Number eight. She played every game like it was her last, aggressive, passionate and dedicated.
Flanker – Jiowana Sauto (FIJ)
Our choice for Player of the Tournament. The epitome of a great blindside flanker. Has all the attributes in attack and defense. Passionate, determined, aggressive and very competitive.
Of comparison, Mere Moto off the bench provided good cover, with Marilyn Live of Samoa also a consideration, who stood out when asked to charge the ball-up.
Lock – Laisa Taga (FIJ)
Excellent all-round player who will grow more with more game time and experience. Has come a long way from her 2016 outing.
Lock –Taylah Hodgson-Tomokino (SAM)
Her experience stood out and helped Samoa get to the final. Her ability to carry and support her loosies has earned her the jumper. An asset during set-pieces.
Prop – Makereta Tunidau (FIJ)
Work rate on the field edges her past her stronger opponents from Tonga and Samoa.
Hooker – Vainga Moimoi (Tonga)
An experienced player, especially with her stint in the New Zealand provincial Championship, she stood out from all the others. Even though her team only claimed one victory, Tonga were competitive against the eventual winners.
Prop – Leilani Burnes (FIJ)
The former Fijiana captain held her own in the scrum. She was aggressive in her carries and deserves her spot.
Every woman earned their place. Some were exciting to watch, while others had their core role to perform plus, they backed up when required. The sign of a star can often see players in the highlights. Yet our LWOR Dream Team is more about what they brought to the entire team.
with that, we present your Oceania Rugby Women’s XVs Dream Team.
This will round up our extensive coverage of the Oceania Rugby Women’s XVs Championship, and end another year on a high for Pacifica Rugby. Three weeks of rugby heaven for locals and supporters in Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
A big “Vinaka Vakalevu” to Biu Kacimaiwai, and to the team at Oceania Rugby.
“Main photo credit – courtesy of Oceania Rugby’s facebook page”