Wests Tigers fullback Jahream Bula will make his Vodafone Fiji Bati debut against the Cook Islands Aitu in the Pacific Championship at Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby on Sunday.
The 21-year-old after scooping three major awards at the tigers this season was named in the Fiji Bati 22-member squad by head coach Wise Kativerata.
Bula makes his Test debut at fullback with his club teammate Brandon Wakeham in the No.7 in his eighth Test for the Bati.
Dally M rookie of the year Sunia Turuva will play centre with experienced duo of Parramatta Eel Maika Sivo and Saint George Illawarra Dragon Mikaele Ravalawa on the wings.
Storm big man Tui Kamikamica takes over as captain from Kevin Naiqama.
Experienced Rabbitoh Taane Milne lines up for his 11th Test as part of a forward pack that includes debutants Gordon Whippy from Ipswich Jets, Kitione Kautiga from Bulldogs and Caleb Navale from Sea Eagles.
The Bati head into the Pacific Championships on a high after a stellar showing at last year’s World Cup where they eventually bowed out in an epic quarter-final against New Zealand.
After a first-up loss to Australia, big wins over Italy and Scotland propelled Fiji into the quarters where they led 18-6 early in the second half and pushed the Kiwis to the brink before succumbing 24-18.
Turuva scored a double on Test debut for Fiji against PNG in 2022 and has three tries in five Tests for Fiji.
Fiji and Cook Islands have clashed 11 times with the Bati holding a 6-5 advantage. Their last meeting was in 2009 in Port Moresby.
Akuila Uate holds the record for most tries in Tests for Fiji with 14.
The match between Fiji Bati and the Cook Islands Aitu will kick off at 5pm at Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby on Sunday
Fiji Bati: Jahream Bula, Maika Sivo, Sunia Turuva, Waqa Blake, Mikaele Ravalawa, Kurt Donoghoe, Brandon Wakeham, Tui Kamikamica, Noah Nailagoliva, Gordon Whippy, Kitione Kautoga, Taane Milne, Caleb Navale.
Subs: Penioni Tagituimua, Apisalome Saukuru, Watisoni Waqanisaravi, Sirilo Lovokuro, Pio Seci.