Vodafone Warriors second rower King Vuniyayawa will make his debut for Fiji Bati in next weekend’s Pacific Test double header at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
The Bati will face the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in the curtain-raiser to the match between Mate Ma’a Tonga and Toa Samoa.
The 23-year-old Lautoka-born Vuniyayawa is in a side which features many of the players who combined to stun the Kiwis 4-2 in their quarter-final clash at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Wellington.
A Manurewa Marlins junior and Alfriston College product, Vuniyayawa went on to play for the Papakura Sea Eagles and is now with the Howick Hornets.
He made a try-scoring Intrust Super Premiership NSW debut for the Vodafone Warriors in their 52-24 first-round win over Newcastle last season, going on to make 10 appearances.
After a delayed start to the 2018 campaign, he has played nine times so far this year. He scored a double when the Vodafone Warriors swamped Wentworthville 36-6 in their last outing on June 2 before having a bye last weekend. He’s on the bench for their 15th-round clash against the Knights this Sunday.
Vuniyayawa finds himself in a Bati side boasting six of the backline involved in the World Cup win over the Kiwis – captain Kevin Naiqama, Suliasi Vunivalu, Akuila Uate, Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne and Henry Raiwalui.
The forward pack is vastly changed, though, with Joe Lovodua, Tui Kamikamica and Eloni Vunakece plus 19th man Junior Roqica the only survivors from the victory in Wellington.
FIJI BATI v PAPUA NEW GUINEA KUMULS
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
4.00pm, Saturday, June 23
1 KEVIN NAIQAMA (c)
2 SULIASI VUNIVALU
3 AKUILA UATE
4 TYRONE PHILLIPS
5 MARCELO MONTOYA
6 JARRYD HAYNE
7 HENRY RAIWALUI
8 KANE EVANS
9 JOE LOVODUA
10 TUI KAMIKAMICA
11 KING VUNIYAYAWA
12 SALESI JUNIOR FAINGA'A
13 JAYSON BUKUYA
14 ELONI VUNAKECE
15 PIO SECI
16 SITIVENI MOCEIDREKE
17 PIO SOKOBALAVU
18 MIKAELE RAVALAWA
19 JUNIOR ROQICA