Category Archives: Manu Samoa

Loose forwards need to negate Pocock

The loose forwards to start in a fortnight for the Flying Fijians Rugby World Cup opener have to be carefully selected with the best openside international flanker David Pocock possibly suiting up at the Sapporo Dome.

Muscled pilferer, David Pocock.

Pocock has been named at his favourite openside flanker position in his return after a six-month layoff through a calf injury; to skipper the Wallabies in their last warm up against Samoa on Saturday in Sydney.

Depending on the position he plays, Pocock has to be closely monitored whether he plays his preferred position at number seven or number 8 where he effectively undermined Fiji’s chances in the last Rugby World Cup.

Skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu who will be opposite Pocock if he plays his normal berth at number 6, has to be doubly alert in the breakdowns where Pocock makes his mark in the first to react and pinch the ball from the carrier.

When given too much time and space, Pocock as he did against the Flying Fijians at the 2015 RWC had a field day in turnover balls which robbed Fiji of control and hard earned possession which they bested the Aussies at 53 percent.

If his counterpart and the whole team keep abreast of the ability of this pilferer, he can be contained and his potential in dominating the game minimised in protecting the ball carrier from the Australians.

An option would be playing Levani Botia at number 6 and moving Waqaniburotu at openside to watch and negate Pocock’s prowess at the breakdowns.

On the opposite number 6 for the Wallabies is incumbent captain Michael Hooper who is not too far behind Pocock in ability and quickness to react in the creation of a breakdown.

Another option is to allow Botia to play a dual role in blindside flanker and inside back intermittently changing with Semi Kunatani or the bigger form of Jale Vatubua who could play number 6 at Wallaby throw-ins at set pieces.

A little variation and unorthodoxy could throw the Aussies off to the Flying Fijians advantage and Kunatani or Vatubua could do with some innovative plays to ignite creativity which naturally breeds energy and enthusiasm.

Flying Fijian skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu leads Fiji against France at the Stade de France in Paris last November.

The Pocock factor in mauls cost Fiji 12 points in the deficit in the 2015 RWC encounter within five minutes and saw the Wallabies lead 15-3 in the 31st minute at the Millennium Stadium.

If Pocock comes out at Sapporo Dome in a number 8 strip then we will have to pick between Viliame Mata and the stronger Peceli Yato to contain him.

Mata has evidently bulked up after three seasons with Guinness premier for Edinburgh but Yato with a longer service for his Clermont club in the Top 14 has a few years advantage in experience and gym work to match the Australian champion ball hunter.

The Nadroga loosie needs to check his exuberance though, with fiery exchanges which cost the team 10 minutes with 14 players after copping a yellow card after retaliating threw punches at the Tongans in their last warm up at Eden Park.

The Australians who have returned from a 10-day bonding and intensive training in Noumea have prepared well for the rugby showpiece in Japan and will come fired up for their first match on September 21.

It maybe a coincidence but the Pacific rivals clashed on almost the same date four years ago at the Cardiff stadium which saw the Australians defeat Fiji 28-13.

  • FRB will be looking at the different positions for the Flying Fijians in their RWC introduction first match against Australia in the next few posts.

Semi Kunatani in his Yamacia outfit.

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Filed under Fiji, Focus on rwc, Manu Samoa, Personalities, Rugby World Cup, Wallabies

Abundance of resources

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Wallaby number 8 Isi Naisarani wins a lineout against the Springboks in Johannesburg. Photo: AFP

The recent debut of three Fijians in separate Tier One nation teams has highlighted the fact that the Fiji Rugby Union is sitting on a wealth of resources that if tapped dilligently and frugally will bring dividends in abundance. Continue reading

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Filed under Australia, Bledisloe Cup, Fiji Rugby Union, France, French Club, HSBC Sevens World Series, Manu Samoa, New Zealand, PNC, Rio de Janeiro, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, South Africa, Springboks, Super Rugby, Tonga, Top 14, Wallabies

Eden Park Dress Rehearsal

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Loose forward Semi Kunatani is gang tackled by Manu Samoa players in the final PNC match in Suva. Photo: Zoom Fiji

The dress rehearsal at Eden Park in Auckland on August 31 will be the final stretch for the Flying Fijians to test their set pieces in the match against a strong Ikale Tahi Tongan side.

The inconsistencies in the lineouts and the scrums throughout the past five matches; two Maori and three Pacific Nations Cup games, will finally provide an indication of how the team will fare in the Rugby World Cup.

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Filed under Fiji, Flying Fijians, Manu Samoa, Maori All Blacks, Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, Tonga, William Webb-Ellis Cup

Silence preludes final selection

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The selected squad need more training at the Sigatoka sand dunes. Photo: FRU

With the predominant culture of servitude and silence currently pervading the country, there has been a lack of critical comments on the final selection of the 31-man squad for the Flying Fijians to be announced on Friday. Continue reading

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Filed under Flying Fijians, France, Georgia, Manu Samoa, Opinion, Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup

Beware, the Kamaishi resurgence factor

Members of the Flying Fijians need to have their eyes wide open in their first match against Japan in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium . . . named after the town's recovery from the 2011 tsunami that destroyed most of the area. Photo: World Rugby

The Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium where the match has been scheduled is the same venue for the Flying Fijians second assignment in the Rugby World Cup against Uruguay on September 25. Continue reading

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Filed under Canada, Fiji, Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, Japan, Manu Samoa, Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, Tonga, USA, World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup

Italy claim victory over Samoa

Italian fullback Andrea Masi is tackled by a Samoan player. Photo: Planet Rugby

Italian fullback Andrea Masi is tackled by a Samoan player. Photo: Planet Rugby

Italy came from 3-10 down at half-time to defeat Samoa 24-13 in their November Test at Stadio Cino e Lilio Del Duca in Ascoli.

New Zealand-born fly-half Kelly Haimona kicked 14 points to inspire Italy to the hard-fought win as they ended a nine-match string of defeats.

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Filed under Italy, Manu Samoa, November Tests

Fiji win Gold Coast title

Fiji acknowledge the crowd with the spoils of the Gold Coast Sevens win. Photo: IRB

Fiji acknowledge the crowd with the spoils of the Gold Coast Sevens win. Photo: IRB

Fiji defeated Samoa 31-24 in final of the Gold Coast Sevens to win round one of the HSBC Sevens World Series and take an early lead in the race for Olympic qualification.

Setefano Cakau scored two tries in the first half before Apisai Domolaili and Semi Kunatani saw the Fijians take a 26-0 lead.  But Samoa’s Fautua Otto scored just before half time before Lolo Lui, Siaosi Asofolau and Tila Mealoi narrowed the gap to just two points with four minutes to go.

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Filed under Australia, HSBC Sevens World Series, IRB, Manu Samoa, Sevens