Fiji lock Ratuniyarawa ready to hit the ground running at Saints

Api Ratuniyarawa is now an important player for Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Api Ratuniyarawa is now an important player for Saints (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Api Ratuniyarawa is eager to continue proving himself during the Pacific Nations Cup as he looks to hit the ground running at Saints next season.

The powerhouse lock started for Fiji as they edged out Samoa, who fielded Ahsee Tuala at full-back, on Saturday.

Fiji were 24-22 winners at the ANZ Stadium in Suva and will now look to build on the victory when they face Georgia on Saturday.

Ratuniyarawa made 22 appearances for Saints last season as he continued to establish himself as a key figure at Franklin's Gardens.

And with new boss Chris Boyd arriving this summer and a World Cup with Fiji to look forward to next year, Ratuniyarawa knows just how important fitness will be to his form.

“It is always an honour to represent your country and so the bigger plan now is to be part of the World Cup team," said the 31-year-old, who joined Saints from Agen in 2016.

“I will have to concentrate on the next game and try to play well and stay fit, not only in this tournament but also when I return to my club.

“I will also need to play well to be included in the national team again in November.”

On the game against Samoa, Ratuniyarawa said: “The Samoans have always been a tough opponent to go up against so we had to fight to the end.

“We really had to dig deep to get a win and I think they were coming for revenge after we beat them in Apia last year.”

Elsewhere, Saints centre Piers Francis came off the bench late on for England as they were beaten 42-39 by South Africa in an entertaining first Test in Johannesburg on Saturday.