Toyota Cowboys front-rower Ashton Sims will captain Rugby League World Cup semi-finalists Fiji for the first time in next week’s Four Nations qualifier against Samoa at Penrith.
Extremely proud of his Fijian heritage, Sims will take over from fellow prop Petero Civoniceva, who retired following the Bati’s World Cup exit against Australia at Wembley Stadium.
“I found out on Tuesday and I have to say I was very pumped about it,” Ashton said today.
“I’ve loved playing for Fiji. It’s very special to me and my family and now I have the huge honour of leading the boys out.”
Unlike the World Cup, only two of the three Sims brothers will be in action against Samoa.
Korbin, who plays with Newcastle, is also in the Fiji squad, but Tariq, a teammate of Ashton’s at North Queensland, has elected to switch his attention to making the Country Origin team that will play City Origin in Dubbo next Sunday.
The winner of the Pacific Test will join Australia, New Zealand and England in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament.
This will be Ashton’s tenth Test for the Bati, who will go into camp early next week.
The Fijian squad includes the NRL’s leading try-scorer Semi Radradra, as well as dual international Lote Tuqiri, who last represented Fiji when he captained the Bati side at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.
Bati squad: Kevin Naiqama, Marika Koroibete, Lote Tuqiri, Sisa Waqa, Eto Nabuli, Alipate Tani, Aaron Groom, Ashton Sims, James Storer, Kane Evans, Jason Bukuya, Korbin Sims, Semi Radradra, Apisai Koroisau, Vitale Roqica, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Peni Botiki, Kali Tani, Tikiko Noke, Atunaisa Turagaiviu, Osea Sadrau.