Memorial match for Savanaca Koroibulileka as Oakham host Bourne in Midlands 3 East (South)
Oakham Rugby Club will be aiming to mark a memorial day for one of their past players by maintaining top spot in Midlands 3 East (South) on Saturday.
Their clash with third-placed Bourne at the Showground this weekend is being billed as a memorial game and fundraising day for Savanaca Koroibulileka.
The Fijian, known as Tu, passed away in September 2016 after collapsing on the pitch while playing for Oakham.
The 38-year-old had just scored a try in the match against West Bridgford when he collapsed. He died later in hospital.
Club officials have now decided that Saturday’s match will be played in his memory.
A club statement said: “The players of both Oakham RFC and Bourne RFC have agreed that the first team fixture to be played at Oakham on Saturday will be a ‘memorial’ match for Tu and a fundraising day for his family’s trust.
“They have asked that as many supporters as possible, from both sides, wear a Hawaiian or Fijian shirt on the day in his memory.
“While the match itself will be played in the spirit of a league match, we are hoping the rest of the day will be spent in the spirit to which Tu attached his life.”
The match pits table-topping Oakham against a Bourne side who are just three points adrift in third spot.
The Oaks have won their last seven Midlands 3 East (South) clashes and will be eager to avenge a 27-19 defeat when the two sides clashed at Milking Nook Drove in November.
Bourne go into the eagerly-awaited fixture on the back of three successive wins following a 52-13 victory over Northampton BBOB in their last outing.
Player-coach Andrew Brown has been pleased with his side’s efforts in recent weeks, but insists his players will remain grounded for the Oakham match.
He commented: “Our defence against Huntingdon three weeks ago was very good for 80 minutes and we attacked well in the second half against Northampton BBOB.
“But we know that to beat Oakham we will need to be at our best in all areas of the game for its entirety.”
Oakham booked their place in the final of the Leicestershire County Bowl at the weekend with a 41-0 home victory over Old Newtonians.
They will face the winners of the other last four clash between Birstall and Shepshed in the final.
Bourne had a rest weekend last Saturday with the second team taking centre stage in a home clash against their Sleaford counterparts.
The hosts ran in 34 unanswered points in the opening period and Bourne director of rugby Dave Maudsley was full of praise for both sides.
He said: “That was rugby at it’s best, 30-odd guys making up the numbers and playing for the fun of it.
“There was plenty of talent on display but the spirit in which the game was played was undoubtedly the highlight for everyone involved.”
Captain Calum Weston was pleased with his side’s efforts and was already looking towards the future.
He added: “It was another solid performance by the squad with lots of players putting in decent shifts.
“We have another two games over the next two weeks and that will be a real test for us but the guys that have been out there will be involved and they’ve shown they’re both willing and able.
“We have the makings of a very capable second team squad and that’s a huge boost for the club.”
More by this authorJames Bedford