Ratu gets Fiji call

Young Leeds Rhinos centre Michael Ratu has been handed a further boost to his career after being selected for the Fiji national team to play in the Pacific Cup in Papua New Guinea at the end of the season.

Ratu’s grandfather, also called Michael, was part of an influx of Fijian players who joined Rochdale in the 1960s, and now his grandson will follow in his footsteps by representing his ancestral home.

The youngster made his debut for the Rhinos back in 2007 but spent last season on loan at Halifax. However, he has now made five more appearances for the Champions and scored his first try in last Friday’s 76-12 rout of Castleford Tigers.

He commented, “It is a real privilege to get the call up from Fiji. I am very proud of my Fijian roots but I think my granddad is even more excited about me playing for Fiji than I am. If you have played in Super League or the NRL you are automatically included for selection so I owe Brian McClennan and the Rhinos a massive debt of thanks for giving me the chance to play in Super League this year.

“I am meeting up with the Fijian management in a couple of weeks to talk about the tournament and I am hoping to go to Fiji a couple of weeks before it starts to be part of the preparations before we go to Papua New Guinea,” added Ratu.

The 21-year-old could come up against Rhinos team mates Kylie Leuluai and Ali Lauitiiti in the Pacific Cup if Samoa beat the Cook Islands in their play off match. Ratu added, “It would be great to play against Kylie and Ali, especially as Willie Poching will be coaching Samoa as well. You always want to test yourself against the best and Samoa would be a tough opponent for us.”