The South Sydney Rabbitohs have arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, today ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Dick Smith Auckland Nines tournament to be played at Eden Park.
Excitement for the competition is building as Rabbitohs squad members revel in the unique experience of representing the Club in the very first Nines tournament.
Among the group of excited Souths players, is halfback Apisai Koroisau – freshly returned from his international World Cup debut for Fiji last year.
“I’m pretty excited,” admitted Koroisau.
I’ve been thinking about it non-stop since they announced it,” said the Fijian who last week played against the Bulldogs in the top grade.
“Madge gave me the opportunity to come across and I’m really grateful for that and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Koroisau was an integral member of Fiji’s Bati squad at last year’s Rugby League World Cup – the hooker/half making his international debut before making first grade. But the man known around Redfern as ‘Api’ didn’t travel to England just to make up the numbers.
Koroisau played in four of the Bati’s five matches at the Word Cup, including the match against Australia where he came face to face with Rabbitohs teammate Greg Inglis – Koroisau coming agonisingly close to a four-pointer in that match only to be denied by the Dally M Fullback of the Year.
“Being at the World Cup definitely helped me understand the speed required in the top grade of the game,” said Koroisau.
“Playing international footy and coming up Against Australia and running against Cameron Smith – I think it’s really helped me, I certainly learned a lot and hopefully I’m better for the experience.”
With Koroisau now focussed on the Rabbitohs’ Nines campaign, the young playmaker – along with his teammates – are unsure of exactly what to expect come kick-off.
“We’ve been training for this and even though we’re not sure how it’s going to go on the field in terms of strategy, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it unfolds and what kind of shapes other teams come up with.
“One thing is certain though, there’s going to be plenty of speed and agility in this tournament.”
“Games will probably come down to how much effort everyone is willing to put into their chases and how much you want to catch the guy with the ball. It’ll be entertaining.”