2023 Netball World Cup preview: Fiji

THE 2023 Netball World Cup is almost here, and to help count down to the tournament, Rookie Me Central will be previewing all the competing teams and seeing how they might fair at the tournament.

Today’s focus is the Fiji Pearls.


Fiji has competed at nine Netball World Cup’s with their best effort a sixth place finish in 1999.

In the years since, Fiji has made each of the past five World Cups played across the globe, but has slowly slipped down the finishing order. In 2003, the Pearls finished eighth, then ninth back in New Zealand in 2007. The last three World Cups have yielded 10th, 11th and 14th place finishes.


Since Fiji’s 14th placed finish at the Netball World Cup, the Pearls slipped to 19th in the world rankings, but qualified for the Netball World Cup via the Oceania Qualifiers. There, they finished second overall, only losing overall tournament winners Tonga.

In the most recent international tournament, Fiji took place in the PacificAus Sports Netball Series on the Gold Coast back in April. They lost to Malawi on day one of the tournament, and went down to Samoa on day two, before defeating Papua New Guinea in the final group match. In the cross-group stage, the Pearls were too good for Singapore winning 65-53 to finish fifth for the tournament, with losses to Tonga and Zambia.


Fijian shooter Lydia Panapasa was sensational at the PacificAus Netball Series games, being a real focal point in attack and a reliable shooter. The pressure will rise a level at the Netball World Cup, but she has formed a strong bond with Uniaisi Rauluni and Maria Lutua Rusivakula in the shooting circle.

A player with plenty of experience is Netball Super League (NSL) is Adi Bolakoro, with the versatile defender one who will provide plenty of resistance in the defensive half of the court. Sharing the court on the defensive end is 25-year-old talent Kelera Nawai who has spent time in the ANZ Premiership.

FIJI FIXTURE (start times local)

Friday 28th July – 9am – Tonga

Saturday 29th July – 9am – Zimbabwe

Sunday 30th July – 9am – Australia


Lydia Panapasa, Unaisi Rauluni, Maliana Rusivakula, Jimaima, Maria Lutua Rusivakula, Anaseni Nauqe, Elina Drikibau, Ana Moi, Ro Kalesi Tawake, Josephine Tabua, Adi Bolakoro, Kelera Nawai

Non-travelling reserves: Reama Verekauta, Avelina Navue, Navinia Sivo

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