Tag Archives: Fiji

Next match needs veterans, youth

veitokani getty

Alifereti Veitokani lines up a shot for the Flying Fijians. Photo: Getty Images

The 23-member team to face Uruguay need to have a balance of experience and youth to make sure Fiji notches a bonus points win yet have a fresh squad to face Georgia next Thursday.

The Flying Fijians have a few players who did not play against Australia who could be named in the starting 15 for the Los Teros at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium at Kamaishi on the northern area of Honshu.

Tight head prop Lee-Roy Atalifo and hooker Mesulame Dolokoto were not in the starting 23 in the opener against Australia, so the pair could team up with Campese Ma’afu or Peni Kovekalou in the front three.

Experienced Apisalome Ratuniyarawa could pair Tevita Ratuva in the locks with Leone Nakarawa on the bench.

The injuries to incumbent number eight Viliame Mata could see skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu take over the back of the scrum with Semi Kunatani and Mosese Voka taking over the side of the scrum.

Another option would be slotting Nakarawa as number eight as he was playing in the second half of the opener and putting Waqaniburotu at number 6 and Kunatani at number 7. Voka should replace one of them in the third quarter.

The rotation of players is not only healthy for the 31 member squad but refreshes idle players in the 23-member squad for the next assignment.

Halfback Nikola Matawalu who had an opportunity to warm up in the latter stage against Australia could start and nippy Henry Seniloli start from the bench giving hard working Frank Lomani a break.

Josh Matavesi or Alifereti Veitokani could start as flyhalf or fullback which they could capably fill in for the second pool match.

The centres positions could revert to the Jale Vatubua, Semi Radradra combination with Vereniki Goneva and Filipo Nakosi on the wings.

The eight to be on the bench between experienced players and novices need to come in during the third or fourth quarter but not too late because the starting XV need to be replaced before they get too exhausted.

The Uruguay match is important in getting a bonus points win in the long run in the event that Fiji, Wales and Australia end the pool stages with three wins and a loss.

In that scenario Fiji needs to win bonus points for both Uruguay, Georgia and Wales to nullify Wales getting an edge over Fiji.

Fiji needs to be wary because Uruguay displaced Canada to qualify for RWC in Pool D and has recorded recent wins over the Argentine XV and Spain in the Nations Cup in June.

Ormaechea

Uruguay halfback Agustine Ormachea kicks against Fiji in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: World Rugby

 

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

“Why play Botia at flanker?”

Lepani Botia attacks for the Flying Fijians against Wales in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Photo: VAVEL

A question was made by one of the readers of Fiji Rugby Post’s latest post titled “Loose forwards need to negate Pocock” on why incumbent Flying Fijian inside centre Lepani Botia should play as a loose forward.

“Botia has never played flanker for Fiji. Why would they start him there now?” questioned Isaia Lawaniyasana on the Facebook Page Green & Blue Fiji.

“(Peceli) Yato, and (Semi) Kunatani can handle Pocock.”

FRB had made several recommendations to the Flying Fijians coaching staff to minimise the potential in the pilfering prowess of Australian champion openside flanker David Pocock.

Pocock, who played at number 8, had a field day pilfering breakdown balls from the Flying Fijians and led the Wallaby forwards in two mauls where he scored two tries within five minutes in their 2015 Rugby World Cup encounter.

Pocock dominated the match resulting in the Wallabies 28-13 win in spite of the 53 percent possession by the Flying Fijians and this was the answer provided for Mr Lawaniyasana.

“Great comment! Botia switches between inside centre and plays flanker for his club La Rochelle in the Top 14 competition. He’s very sharp on anticipating a breakdown and quick to react. Even though he maybe is smaller in stature to Yato and Kunatani, he has a tenacity that can match and overpower Pocock’s pilfering abilities if he has to IMO (in my opinion) . . .”

One of the suggestions by FRB was:

“playing Levani Botia at number 6 to negate Pocock’s prowess at the breakdowns and moving Waqaniburotu at openside.

“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.”

Botia who has been playing low key in the flanker’s role has a tenacity that only a few have on the international arenas and FRB believes if provided an opportunity could match the abilities of Pocock and more.

Pocock returned to the international rugby scene last Saturday wearing the Wallabies captain’s armband in his favoured openside flanker’s position after a six months layoff from a calf injury.

Botia debuted at openside flanker in April 2017, when La Rochelle beat Viliame Mata’s Edinburgh 32-22 to reach the English Challenge Cup semi-finals and now enjoys the position after coach Patrice Collazo tried him there.

Half of the breakdown issues especially with losing possession to the opposition are solo attacks without any close resources to support the ball carrier.

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Filed under Fiji, Fiji Rugby Blog, Fijian centres

Fiji or Japan to win 2019 RWC

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The Brave Blossoms celebrate after upsetting the Springboks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

 

Just like the violent tsunami that hit Kamaishi, the aftereffects of the 2011 great Sendai 9.1 earthquake, a Tier 2 nation will win the Japanese Rugby World Cup after the final at the International Stadium in Yokohama on November 2.

Either hosts Japan or Fiji will win the number IX showcase event after Tier One nations New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England dominated proceedings in the past eight tournaments.

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Filed under All Blacks, Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, Flying Fijians, Japan, Opinion, Pacific Nations Cup, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Springboks, Wales, Wallabies

Yato’s youth may favour him for next world cup

Fiji's flanker Peceli Yato clashes into Australian James Slipper in their match two weeks ago in Cardiff. Photo: SMH

Fiji’s flanker Peceli Yato clashes into Australian James Slipper in their match two weeks ago in Cardiff. Photo: SMH

Fiji’s blindside flanker, 22-year-old Peceli Yato, outplayed his opposite number Australian 31-year-old Scott Fardy in all facets of their Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

According to World Rugby stats Yato gained 31 metres with the ball in hand compared to Fardy’s 13 metres and in defence Yato scored a 100 percent tackling with four of his attempts compared to 89 percent of Fardy’s with eight attempts.

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Island teams look all set to jet home early

Tonga's hopes of moving to the knock out stage of the competition was snuffed out by the Argentines. Photo: Planet Rugby

Tonga’s hopes of moving to the knock out stage of the competition was snuffed out by Argentina. Photo: Planet Rugby

All three Pacific island teams look set to make an early exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup after mediocre performances for the first three weeks of the competition.

Fiji after being crowned the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup champions in August lost all of their first three matches against England, Australia and Wales before winning their last match against Uruguay.

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Filed under Fiji, Rugby World Cup, Samoa, Tonga

Atalifo’s 75 minutes prove vital

Leeroy Atalifo of Fiji (C) and team mates look on during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Fiji and Uruguay at Stadium mk in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.  Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Leeroy Atalifo of Fiji (C) and team mates look on during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Fiji and Uruguay at Stadium mk in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The subbing of Suva prop Leeroy Atalifo in the 75th minute of the match between Fiji and Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup at Milton Keyne has reiterated the success of the coaching staff in preparing a class team for the competition.

The records in the World Rugby shows 100 percent success in winning own scrums in the match against the South Americans which indicates Atalifo’s continuation of Manasa Saulo’s clean slate in the three matches before.

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Murimurivalu hails McKee’s influence

Fiji's fullback Kini Murimurivalu goes over for the try against Uruguay at the mkStadium in Milton Keynes, England. Photo: World Rugby

Fiji’s fullback Kini Murimurivalu goes over for the try against Uruguay at the mkStadium in Milton Keynes, England. Photo: World Rugby

Full-back Kini Murimurivalu, in speaking to Sports Mole, has praised the contribution that John McKee has made to Fijian rugby.

New Zealand-born McKee took charge of Fiji last year and has since guided the team to glory in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, as well as having received plaudits for the style in which his side have played at the Rugby World Cup.

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