Fiji

Published on: September 14, 2015

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World Ranking: 9Flag_of_Fiji.svg

Odds of Winning: 1000/1

Road to Qualification: Hammered the Cook Islands 108-6 in a play-off for the Oceania 1 spot.


Recent Results:

Canada 18 – 47 Fiji

Fiji 39 – 29 Samoa

Fiji 27 – 22 Japan

Fiji 30 – 30 Samoa

Fiji 30 – 22 Tonga

Fiji 26 – 27 NZ Maori


Pool Fixtures:

Date Time Team v Team Stadium
Friday, 18 September 15 20:00 England v Fiji Twickenham Stadium, England
Wednesday, 23 September 15 16:45 Australia v Fiji Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Thursday, 1 October 15 16:45 Wales v Fiji Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Tuesday, 6 October 15 20:00 Fiji v Uruguay Stadiummk, Milton Keynes

Strengths:

Exciting backline – with lots of pace, power and flair.

Good counter attacking options.

Weaknesses:

Front 5 – apart from Nakawara – most of the front 5 play at a much lower level and may be telling towards the end of games.

Setpiece – lineout and scrums likely to be up against it versus the bigger teams.

Weaker at rucks/breakdown area compared to the higher ranked teams – which means their dangerous backline will be starved of possession and chances to shine.

Key Players:

Leone Nakawara – The octopus man, who is capable of offloading from seemingly impossible circumstances. He’ll be key to creating a quick offloading game that Fiji will need to be successful if they’re to escape the pool.

Vereniki Goneva – The versatile centre/winger has bags of pace, style and strength. Has been a key player for Leicester Tigers in the last few years and Fiji will be looking at him to organise the backline.

Nemani Nadolo – The Crusaders winger who can also double up as a centre has similar strengths to Goneva – a strong, physical player who can also be a back-up kicker if needed! Here’s a piece by Charlie Morgan if you’d like to see a bit more on Nadolo [link]

Nikola Matawalu – a player that is capable of a spark of brillaince that can win you a game, or a hot-headed moment that can lose you it (likely to make your blood pressure go up if you’re a Fiji fan!). The scrumhalf, who also used to play 7s for Fiji will look to speed the tempo of play up whenever possible, but sometimes overdoes it, and can make the wrong decision sometimes.

Injuries / Unlucky to miss out:

Napolioni Nalaga
Jerry Yanuyanutawa
Timoci Nagusa

Squad:

Props:

Lee Roy Atalifo (Suva)
Isei Colati (Nevers)
Campese Ma’afu (Provence)
Peni Ravai (Nadroga)
Manasa Saulo (Timișoara Saracens)

Hookers:

Sunia Koto (Narbonne)
Talemaitoga Tuapati (Provence)
Viliame Veikoso (Doncaster)

Lock:

Tevita Cavubati (Waiemea Old Boys)
Leone Nakarawa (Glasgow Warriors)
Api Ratuniyarawa (Agen)
Nemia Soqeta (Biarritz)

Flankers:

Akapusi Qera (Montpellier)
Malakai Ravulo (Steaua București)
Dominiko Waqaniburotu (Brive)
Peceli Yato (Clermont)

Number 8:

Sakiusa Matadigo (Lyon)
Netani Talei (Harlequins)

Scrum Half:

Nemia Kentale (Farul Constanța)
Nikola Matawalu (Bath)
Henry Seniloli (Unattached)

Fly Half:

Josh Matavesi (Ospreys)
Ben Volavola (Waratahs)

Centre:

Levani Botia (La Rochelle)
Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
Gabiriele Lovobalavu (Unattached)

Winger:

Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders)
Waisea Nayacalevu (Stade Français)
Asaeli Tikoirotuma (London Irish)

Fullback:

Kini Murimurivalu (La Rochelle)
Metuisela Talebula (Bordeaux Bègles)


Likely Starting XV:


Summary:

Ah Fiji. If they were in any other pool, you’d probably be backing them to make the quarterfinals. But, they are one of the components that make up the “Pool of Death”, and may be decisive in who makes it through.

The recently crowned Pacific Nations Cup Champions will be up against it in the Pool, but could potentially cause an upset to one of Australia, England or Wales. Their front five, as mentioned, are considerably weaker than the rest of the squad, and this could be their undoing against the top opposition.

Fiji’s backline is littered with quality, with a number of the players playing at title challenging clubs in various leagues across Europe and in Super Rugby, they will be looking for their backline to strike from anywhere across the pitch.

Realistically, their chances are limited, and getting out of the pool would be an amazing, amazing achievement.  Hopefully they can cause an upset or two and break Pool A wide open.

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