NRC Rising Star nominee Round Two: Alivereti Veitokani (Fijian Drua)

NRC
by Iain Payten

Mesmerising Fijian Drua fly-half Alivereti Veitokani is the NRC Rising Star nominee for the second round of the competition.

Veitokani, who is known as "Freddy", has been in scintillating form in the opening two rounds of the NRC and after a star effort in the Drua's win over Melbourne in the first game, the 25-year-old was again at the forefront of the Drua's 66-5 hammering of Brisbane City.

The speedy no.10 had a hand in five of the Drua's 10 tries; troubling City constantly with his line-breaking running game and brilliant, Fijian-grade passing game.

Combined with the impressive Frank Lomani at halfback, Veitokani's form has the Drua sitting atop the NRC ladder after two rounds.

The headgeared playmaker leads the competition for metres run (264m in two games), and is in the top five for almost all the other key attacking stats as well - including clean breaks, carries and offloads.

For the second week running, after Western Force no.10 Andrew Deegan was the round one nominee, the quality of Veitokani's performance was made all the more clear by the fact City star Quade Cooper was his rival fly-half

The front page of the Fiji Sun on Saturday before the Drua-City game was dedicated to their clash.


Veitokani is a corrections officer in Fiji but is one of a handful of the Drua players also on a contract with the Fiji Rugby Union.

He represented Fiji briefly in sevens last year, has played three times for the flying Fijians and is earmarked to be Ben Volavola's understudy for the Rugby World Cup next year.


Veitokani qualifies for the NRC Rising Star given he has not played more than three games for the Flying Fijians. Australian players are eligible for the award if they have played three games or fewer in Super Rugby. 

The NRC Rising Star award winner will be selected by a judging panel at the end of the 2018 NRC season. 


NRC RISING STAR NOMINEES 

Round One: Andrew Deegan (Western Force)
Round Two: Alivereti Veitokani (Fijian Drua)
Round Three: TBA
Round Four: TBA
Round Five: TBA
Round Six: TBA
Round Seven: TBA