Flying Fijians Head Coach John McKee has made changes to his match day 23 member squad for their second World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup match against Canada at Suva’s ANZ Stadium.
Experienced props Campese Ma’afu and Peni Ravai start in the front-row together with Naitasiri Rugby hooker Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto.
In the forwards, star lock Leone Nakarawa has been given the captaincy role while skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu takes a break after playing three consecutive matches. Tevita Ratuva and Peceli Yato strengthen the pack together with Semi Kunatani and Viliame Mata who retain their places in the run on team.
McKee said “Waqaniburotu has come off big season and has been playing a lot of game time in the first three game so he gets a rest and Leone Nakarawa will take over the captaincy for this match.
“Nakarawa is a leader by example and is one of our most influential players.
“With the captaincy he takes some responsibility and it’s really important that he keeps a clear head during the game time and has influential words with the players at critical times to ensure they maintain their focus, McKee added.
In the backs, Henry Seniloli is at half-back while Josh Matavesi comes in at number 10.
Fan favourite Semi Radradra starts with Jale Vatubua in the centre while the “Sledgehammer” Eroni Sau and Josua Tuisova play on the wings with Kini Murimurivalu in the full-back position.
“It’s great to see Semi Radradra returning in the midfield for this test since the game in Paris against France last year where he was very influential.
“This match will also see him renewing his partnership with Jale Vatubua,” McKee added.
He said “Josua Tuisova returns on the wing.
“We know there’s going be strong fire-power in him after two weeks of regeneration programme.
“We know he’s raring to go together with Eroni Sau.
“They are both super fit and ready to make an impact in this game,” McKee added.
Tevita Cavubati and Nikola Matawalu have been named on the bench and are expected to add more fire power in the last 40 minutes.
McKee added “Cavubati has worked very hard, got himself in shape so he gets his opportunity off the bench this week.”
“Matawalu has been out of the mix for a little bit now. Probably because some untimely injuries around him, he has missed couple of tours but it’s good to see him back in the mix.
“We know what an x-factor he is and we expect to see some of that at the back end of the game on Saturday” the coach shared.
McKee is anticipating a tough encounter against Canada on Saturday.
He said “They will come out strong and will play a physical game against us.
They will make us work very hard for everything in the game. They will scrap for every contest and possession.”
Flying Fijians face Canada at 5.15pm on Saturday at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Lineup
- Campese Ma’afu
- Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto
- Peni Ravai
- Leone Nakarawa (c)
- Tevita Ratuva
- Peceli Yato
- Semi Kunatani
- Viliame Mata
- Henry Seniloli
- Josh Matavesi
- Eroni Sau
- Jale Vatubua
- Semi Radradra
- Josua Tuisova
- Kini Murimurivalu