Category Archives: Rugby World Cup

England, Wales eye finals

nippon loses fire

Braves Blossoms lost their steam in their quarterfinals against South Africa. Photo: NikkeiAsia

In spite of the last minute effort by the Welsh to comeback and snatch a win from France; the Red Dragons look the better contender to advance to the finals against England in a fortnight.

Watching the game on television last night, the French had done enough to win the match but didn’t have the killer punch to amass enough points to keep the margin clear from the grasp of the Six Nations champion, Wales.

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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, All Blacks, England, Focus on rwc, Rugby World Cup, South Africa, Springboks, Wales, William Webb-Ellis Cup

Volavola dictates from the pocket

aerial battle, radradra

Fiji’s left winger Semi Radradra loses an aerial battle against his Georgian counterpart. Photo: World Rugby

After four years of being groomed in the pocket of intense pressure, coach John McKee is beginning to see the fruits of nurturing and belief in fly-half Ben Volavola in the dismantling of the strong Georgians with a 45-10 scoreline yesterday in their third match of the Rugby World Cup.

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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, Georgia, Japan, John McKee, Rugby World Cup

Radradra at left wing a miff

Semi Radradra scores a try against France last November. Photo: World Rugby

The announcement by Flying Fijians coach John McKee yesterday to put Semi Radradra on the left wing will have the Australians working overtime wracking their mental faculties on the puzzling alteration.

Here is the key weapon McKee has been utilizing as outside centre to break defense structures in the November tour in Europe and Pacific Nations Cup; all of a sudden he names Radradra on the wideout . . . puzzling.

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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, Flying Fijians, Personalities, Rugby World Cup

Key number 10 position

Flying Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola with Holywood star girlfriend Shailene Woodley in New York. Photo: gotceleb

The halves combination is one of the most important aspects of any team whether club competition or the highest level in the Rugby World Cup which kicks off tomorrow night in Tokyo.

Coach John McKee has not been coy about his choice at number nine with Frank Lomani debuting in the global showpiece which the Savusavu native deservedly merits with his exploits on show in the last November Tests in Europe and the last couple of Pacific Nations Cup series.

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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, Personalities, Rugby World Cup

Cavubati, Nakarawa to play locks in RWC opener

The pairing of Tevita Cavubati and Leone Nakarawa as locks for the opener against Australia is a foregone conclusion after manning those berths towards the end part of the Pacific Nations Cup and Tonga in the Pasifika challenge in Auckland.

Flying Fijians lock Tevita Cavubati reacts after Fiji scored a try against Wales in the 2015 RWC. Photo: Stuff

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Filed under 2019 Rugby World Cup, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, Japan, Opinion, Rugby World Cup, Wallabies, William Webb-Ellis Cup

Wallabies fan? Yes

I was wearing a Wallaby shirt the other day and someone commented; are you a Wallaby fan? To which I replied of course.

The navy blue quality polo shirt with Australian logos and insignia was a gift to me from my younger sister who lives in Melbourne and I enjoy wearing it.

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Filed under Fiji, Flying Fijians, Flying Fijians coach, Focus on rwc, Opinion, Rugby World Cup, Wallabies

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