National coach Ilivasi Tabua believes the current squad has what it takes to overcome any hurdles they face and make a good showing at the VII Rugby World Cup which kicks off France on September 7.
“These are the best resources we have available and this is what we will work with,” Tabua said after the announcement of the 30-man squad at the Holiday Inn in Suva tonight.
Tabua was upbeat with the named squad members and believes they had what it took to reach the quarterfinals of the championship.
“We target to beat Wales, Canada and Japan to make it to the quarters,” he said.
“We will give Australia our best shot and who knows if the players play it right and give our all we could also defeat Australia.”
Fiji is pooled in Pool B with seeded teams Australia and Wales expected to advance to the knockout stages with Canada, Japan and Fiji expected to bow out after the pool matches.
Tabua said even though the problems faced in the tighthead would not just go away they had willing props to tackle the task at hand.
The team is planning to go into camp for two days in Suva on Monday at the Fiji Military Forces Barracks in Suva before heading for Sigatoka where they will be camping at the Crows Nest Resort and training for six weeks mostly at the Lawaqa Park Stadium.
Jone Railomo and Henry Qiodravu are the two tight-head props named and Graham Dewes and Alefoso Yalayalatabua named on the loose side.
Experienced tight head Deacon Manu who had a slight hope of anchoring the scrum has ruled himself out citing family commitments.
Tabua said the selection of the the starting halfback in Mosese Rauluni and Jone Daunivucu would depend on what teams they played.
“We have a nippy halfback in Mo Rauluni who has a lot of vision in the game and quick around the scrums and then we have an attacking halfback in Daunivucu who can take on the opposition and make something out of nothing,” Tabua said.
He didn’t want to commit also as far as the first choice five eighth position between veteran Nicky Little and exciting newcomer Waisea Luveniyali.
“Depends who we are playing in that choice and we’ll see what strategy we employ and see which one of the two suits it the best,” he said.
Little is the highest points scorer for Fiji in international rugby and has vast experience which he displayed in the trials last night commanding the respect and following from players around him.
While youngster Luveniyali enjoys his position and has shown through the two matches he played against Tonga and Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup that he loves to attack the opposition at pace and has the skills to vary his attacks to overcome any defence.
Also standing out during the trials is powerfully built Nadroga centre Maleli Kunavore who has the pace and strength to break up any midfield defence as he was able to display a little last night in very trying circumstances.
Filimone Delasau, double try scorer against Australia A Filimone Boilavucu and Isoa Neivua have been named on the wings with Rupeni Caucau still having a slight possibility of making a showing in this world cup.
Logistics manager Peter Murphy said Caucau was following a training regime and had a slight possibility of making the squad in the last minute.
The best winger in world rugby Caucau will be having a meeting with the Fiji Rugby Union next week to finalise his position with the squad.
“His ban will not allow him to play for Fiji against Japan on the 12th (September) but he will be able to play against Canada (16 September),” Murphy said.
Caucau was banned from any involvement with rugby from the international body IRB after testing positive against using drugs in a club commitment in France.
Forwards: Graham Dewes, Alefoso Yalayalatabua, Sunia Koto, Vereniki Sauturaga, Jone Railomo, Henry Qiodravu, Bill Gadolo, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Kele Leawere, Isoa Domolailai, Wame Lewaravu, Jone Qovu, Netani Talei, Semisi Naevo, Sisa Koyamaibole, Aca Ratuva, Akapusi Qera.
Backs: Jone Daunivucu, Mosese Rauluni, Nicky Little, Waisea Luveniyali, Seremaia Bai, Seru Rabeni, Kameli Ratuvou, Maleli Kunavore, Vilimone Delasau, Isoa Neivua, Filimone Bolavucu, Gabirieli Lovobalavu, Norman Ligairi.
Caption: The Fijians warm up before an international at the national stadium in Suva. Photo: GREG TAYLOR