Fiji’s Josh Matavesi misses a tackle against Wales winger George North in the Pool A clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photo: DPA
Flying Fijians fly-half Joshua Matavesi says the team always comes first despite mis-reports on his confusion and de-motivation by Fiji’s treatment during Rugby World Cup (RWC2015).
Speaking from the Fiji team-base in Swansea, Wales yesterday Matavesi said; “I wish I personally could have played a bigger role but the team always comes first.”
Wales skipper Sam Warburton says Fiji has improved from the team that Wales defeated 66-0 in 2011. Photo: World Rugby
CARDIFF – They might have been decimated by injury, but Wales will forget all about their unprecedented misfortune if they make it three successive Pool A victories, at the expense of Fiji, in the Millennium Stadium on Thursday (Friday morning FT).
Having arrived at Rugby World Cup 2015 without his irrepressible full-back and goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny, first-choice scrum-half Rhys Webb and centre Jonathan Davies, coach Warren Gatland has since lost Corey Allen to a hamstring tear and Scott Williams and Hallam Amos to knee and shoulder injuries respectively.
Fiji’s flyhalf Ben Volavola goes in for Fiji’s lone try against the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images
New Flying Fijian flyhalf Ben Volavola came into his own in the 13-28 loss to Australia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff early this morning.
Volavola’s sliced through the Wallaby defence and powered over from 20 metres out to score under the cross bar in the 60th minute.
The Crusaders bound flyhalf had overcome the jitters of the big stage fumbling his first high ball against England at packed out Twickenham Stadium last Friday night in the opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Timely reminder for Cheika’s men to be vigilant. Photo: Getty Images
The Wallabies had a brush with World Cup espionage after security was forced to chase off a man hiding in bushes with a long-lens camera next to their training ground.
Australia have felt removed from all the serious World Cup hype in tranquil Bath, but that was shattered yesterday when a man with a long-lens camera was spotted by World Rugby security lurking in bushes adjacent to the field where they’ve been training at Bath University.
The session was private and the training field is surrounded by high fences with hessian. But the man was spotted in one mangrove-like area that has a view of the field.
The Wallabies are ready to rumble. Photo: Getty Images
With Australia and Fiji pledging to stick to their traditions of attacking rugby, Cardiff should be in for a cracking Rugby World Cup contest when the Pool A rivals clash at the Millennium Stadium on Thursday morning.
The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.
After Japan’s victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in its defeat against England to suggest that it is capable of an upset if everything comes together.
The Japanese side celebrates after the upset defeat of two-time world champions South Africa. Photo: Getty Images
Scottish fly-half Duncan Weir insists the Scotland squad were not shocked by Japan beating South Africa and says it acts as a warning ahead of Wednesday’s meeting.
“We understood that Japan are a growing nation and they’ve been playing some good rugby,” said Weir.
Clash of props . . . Fiji’s prop Campese Ma’afu (right) confronts England counterpart Dan Coles. Photo: Getty Images
England left it late but came away from their Rugby World Cup opener with a bonus point 35-11 win over a punishing Fiji side at Twickenham.
Late tries from Mike Brown and Billy Vunipola in many ways glossed over a number of issues for Stuart Lancaster and the rest of his coaches to address – although they had time to do so during multiple lengthy stoppages involving the television match official.
England never hit the pace they set at their best against Ireland in their final warm-up match due to a combination of clear jitters along with Fiji’s refusal to let them settle.
Head coach John McKee and scrum coach Alan Muir’s work with Fiji means they are no longer a soft touch at the scrum, that crucial area in the past where teams have dominated them. No more, on this basis at least.
The Duke of Cambridge knights Welsh great Gareth Edwards on Thursday. Photo: PA
Wales rugby great Gareth Edwards has been knighted by the Duke of Cambridge in recognition of a glittering sporting career and services to charity.
Sir Gareth attended a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Thursday, after being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June.
Michael Cheika, Australia’s coach, fields the questions at the MacDonald Bath Spa hotel on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Michael Cheika believes that all five teams in Pool A will be feeling concerned about their World Cup prospects but welcomes the challenge
Australia does not sack its rugby coaches with quite the regularity it dumps prime ministers. However, if Michael Cheika is to keep the Wallabies job longer than Tony Abbott ran the country then results at the World Cup clearly have to go his way, no easy matter considering the opposition – three sides in the world’s top 10 – coming his way.
First up Fiji, the new Pacific champions and ranked ninth in the world, followed by Uruguay, pool outsiders but still inside World Rugby’s top 20, England, the home nation ranked fourth, and then Wales, one further off in fifth spot.
National Fiji coach John McKee trained the Fiji team simulating noises from Twickenham. Photo: Getty Images
Fiji head coach John McKee has revealed how the side have used loud speakers in training to prepare for Twickenham on Friday.
A sell-out crowd will watch the Pacific Island side face Rugby World Cup hosts England in the opening game of the 2015 tournament.
Expecting a raucous atmosphere, Fiji have prepared accordingly by attempting to recreate similar noise levels to Friday night.
“We had a little bit of a strategy earlier in the campaign in Fiji, we had a PA system playing crowd noise and the sounds from Twickenham,” said McKee.